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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.

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May 26, 2011

Welcoming the Other

Woman at the Well (1)Jesus tells us story after story about how we are to welcome the other even at cost to ourselves.  Whether it’s the story of the persistent neighbor who knocks and knocks until he wakes his neighbor to help him provide for a stranger, or the story of the woman at the well – the stories we share with campers are rooted in welcome and hospitality of those different than us.

However, at most camps I visit during the summer, I see a predominantly, often exclusively, Caucasian community.  How are we welcoming immigrants, African Americans, Asians, and others who may not be currently included in our programming?

There are successful models of intentionally welcoming a diverse community, and there are well-intended programs that have not broken down stereo-types or created a safe, welcoming community for all.

Do you have stories to share of efforts you have experience that have been successful at fostering multi-cultural community at your center?  Do you have stories to share of efforts that have not borne fruit?  Do you feel called to this?  Is this not a focus of your ministry?


Tags: camp, christian, conference, multi-cultural, outsiders, pcusa, presbyterian, religion, retreat, welcome