HW just returned from a weekend in the woods. 24 of us camped at Wild RiverÂ State Park. (Keep in mind that we had 17 people at worship the Sunday before...so 24Â is nearly ourÂ entire community.) (Disclaimer: Those of you who couldn't make it--don't thinkÂ for one minute you were not missed.)Â I was a tiny bit nervous about the whole endeavor. With all the uncontrollable factors (weather, equipment, other louder groups, our own group dynamics), I wondered if this time together might just actually do us in. As in, destroy the community. I know, it sounds melodramatic...but the relationships we are forming are not yet two years old. Anything is possible.
However,Â my fears were quickly dispelled.Â A few things I witnessed:Â Â Seven-year-olds were persuaded to share their very favorite items. Teenagers cared for the most vulnerable (bathing the urchin-like three-year-olds in the dish bins). Meals that were planned for individuals quickly became communal. Dishes were magically washed after each meal. Showers (stolen...oops!) were transformative.Â We were away long enoughÂ that outer shells were cracked--allowingÂ more of who we are to show through. Even the grumpy or complicated parts we can mostly keep hidden on Sundays. And it was okay.
Of course, it always helps to have a seemingly endless supply of coffee and marshmallows.Â Which we did.
I highly suggest taking your whole church camping. You will fall deeper in love with the people you serve.