Brian Frick is the Associate for Camp and Conferences Ministries with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He has been involved in camp and conference ministry since high school. For the past ten years, Brian has served as program director of Johnsonburg Center in New Jersey, Westminster Woods in California, and Heartland Center in Missouri.
Camp and conference ministry compliments and partners with other ministry aspects of our church to foster faith development and reflection. As our communities and our church changes, our ministries need to grow and adapt with creative and emergent programming and leadership to meet new realities.
These blogs entries, though varied, are intended to spur thought and conversation around the opportunities and challenges before us.
Three Farm the Land, Grow the Spirit interns reflect on coming back to SPC
Haider Albassam (2010), Huda Al Sammarraie (2012), and Matthew Zeltzer (2010) are all alumni of our summer program. As we've been working with this year's students, we've also welcomed the return of these alumni.
Haider: As the summer after my senior year was approaching in 2010, I knew I wanted to become a part of something important. This was an interesting time in my life because I had just graduated high school and was about to embark on my college years. My mother discovered Stony Point Center and told me about a program that allowed me to live among members of many different faiths and beliefs while harmonizing in a peaceful, safe environment. This was exactly what I had been looking for!
While at Stony Point, I had the ability to interact with many different people of different walks of life. This had become a life changing experience for me. I lived among some of the most inspiring individuals, and we worked together to create a lasting work of unity. We built the Cornerstone Garden. The garden symbolized peace, unity and overcoming stigmas so ingrained in the fabric of society. This experience pushed me to study social justice and marketing. Using marketing, I will work, with many different faiths, to brand a new iconic image of peace.
Three years later, I find myself back at Stony Point. I find myself back at the place I feel so safe. I am able to live my life, care free of the animosity of many that oppose our work. Being back, I have been able to work on projects, work on the Muslim Peace Fellowship, and continue to grow as an individual. Leaving Stony Point years ago, I believed that I had learned all I could. I was sure that I had experienced all what Stony Point Center had to offer, but I believe that there is more. Even though it is only for a short while, I am glad to say that I have returned home.
Huda: Leaving Stony Point Center last summer after finishing Farm the Land, Grow the Spirit program was heartbreaking. I knew for sure I wanted to come back, "someday I will come back," I thought as I was leaving the garden that my fellow interns and I had worked on throughout the program. Living in this wonderful community for six weeks last summer and meeting so many amazing people from various places/backgrounds/faiths/traditions had a huge influence on me and has indeed changed my life. Coming back as a volunteer at the fair-trade gift shop rather than as intern has been a different yet very wonderful experience. I was very excited to be back to the place where I had beautiful memories and met people who I consider extraordinary. Everybody was very hospitable, wonderful, and seemed to be pleased to have me back. Although farming is quite different from working at a fair-trade gift shop, surprisingly enough, I enjoyed doing both very much. I found both experiences to be very enlightening to me and added a whole new dimension to my life that I would not have found elsewhere. I feel so blessed to be part of the community again this year. I'm sure everyone who's been here will know what I'm talking about if I said that there is something about working here and being part of the community that is different from other places. There is so much love and peace in this place that makes me feel at home, makes me always want to come back.
I spent several summers growing up working on farms and so I love having this opportunity to do something I love in such a wonderful place. I also have an interest in beekeeping and I would like to maybe next year introduce honeybees to Stony Point Center.
Matthew: After participating in the Farm the Land, Grow the Spirit Summer Institute 3 summers ago and having a wonderful time, I decided to move back to Stony Point Center to volunteer after I graduated college. I work in the gardens of the Stony Point Center, assisting Will Summers, and I am also a member of the Community of Living Traditions, the multifaith community living here at SPC.