July 01, 2018

  If you’ve been keeping up with my blog posts of late, you’ll notice a recurring theme running throughout.  That theme, obviously, is community.  You’re probably tired of me riffing on the many ways we try and accomplish and nurture community in our campus ministry at OSU, and if that’s the case, sorry/not sorry.  In my few years as chaplain to the students, Episcopal and otherwise, at OKstate, community has been front and center in my mind and effort.  This summer has reminded me why.

For the first time in five or six years, I was able to spend a week at St. Crispin’s as chaplain for a session of camp.  What a gift that was.  For all the talk of change with new facilities, new activities and all that, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I was a little nervous.  I was soon proven wrong.  For starters, the new facilities are AMAZING!  Aside from figuring out a couple logistical issues stemming from how do we do camp in a new space, it just plain works.  Next, the staff.  Now, I am biased as a good number of summer staff counselors are Canterbury students, but the entire staff did an amazing job.  I was blown away by their energy, creativity, and their attention to the campers.  Watching them gently encourage campers out of their shells, cheer them past comfort zones on the climbing wall, sit with campers that were having a moment, while nurturing and building their own community, fed my soul.  Friends, camp is in good hands. 

A couple weeks ago I got to spend a long weekend down in Broken Bow with some of my closest friends.  It was, for all intents and purposes, a camp reunion.  These were the guys I met out at camp when I was in high school.  I worked with a couple of them on summer staff from ‘98-’00.  In what sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, a lawyer, a professor, an orchestra teacher, a restaurant manager, a regional sales manager, and a priest all gathered to pick up where we left off.  We laughed (more often than not at each other’s expense,) ate and drank, played cards and dominoes, discovered a newfound love for rugby sevens, and shared triumphs and struggles.  We didn’t have to pretend to be anything, we just were ourselves.  And it all started at camp. 

The St. Crispin’s community has been a place that has fed and shaped me for now more than 23 years.  Like St. Dunstan’s where I grew up, the community welcomed me, formed me, challenged me, and loved me.  And it still is.  Be it your local parish, the camp you went to as a kid, the campus ministry you hung out at when you were in college, community rooted in the unending, inexhaustible love of God, is, I would argue as important as food, water, and shelter for life itself.

Yeah, I talk about community alot.  Hopefully you can now see why.  My experience, and I hope yours as well, holds that the Way of Love, as shown by Jesus himself, takes many a winding road.  I do not think I would be a traveller on the way without the communities that first showed me His love.  And for that I give thanks.


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