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.
As our sites branch out into being mission support centers, finding and engaging in the work of the greater Church outside, or in concert with the site based resources, they are running into many “ah ha’s” as well as many confused looks as to why camp and conference centers should or can be helpful in many areas of ministry.
A recent call with Rev. Betty Angelini, director of Crestfield Camp and Conference revealed that Pittsburgh Presbytery is having conversations about the future of children and youth ministry in the Presbytery. Crestfield was not invited to that conversation – not out of malice, but it was just not something people thought of. When she shared that that is an area that Crestfield is moving to support and can be more supportive of, there were many questions but a good starting point for exploring how Pittsburgh’s camp/conference center, can be helpful in more ways than providing a great summer camp for kids, and space for retreats.
Not to elaborate too much, but Crestfield is very active in day camp programs at churches, is reaching out to inner-city minority congregations to serve them and has staff that are specifically assigned to “work in the churches” when they are not doing their tasks at Crestfield. This is not all Crestfield is involved in, but it gives some feel for how they are actively engaging, not waiting to be asked.
How are you engaging in ministry and mission outside of your physical site? How is that being received? Do others know about your efforts? What responses are you getting from those you are working with? What responses are you getting from those who are just hearing about it? What ways are you successful in spreading the message that you are willing and capable to help outside of your physical site? What ways are you stymied in your attempts to share the news of the resources you have to share?