First, it is with great sadness that I share with you the passing of Brian Stelck. Brian and his wife Caryn served with CBM in Kenya. Caryn ministered in hospital chaplaincy in Vancouver and Brian was President of Carey Hall from 1994-2013. Brian’s term at Carey resulted in a wide range of very creative ministries and education. I’ll share more of his life story in the weeks ahead. I worked down the hall from Brian for 9 years. He was a wonderful colleague and a dear friend. I miss him deeply as many others do. Please pray for his wife Caryn and their extended family. The service is next Friday Aug 26 at 12 noon at First Baptist Church in Edmonton.
Second, this week’s topic is an experience of camp. There is a personal and spiritual restlessness in me from around the middle of June to around the middle of September as preparations and then the wind down of both our residential and non-residential summer camping unfolds. Some feel that I am somewhat excessive on repeatedly commenting on this time of life in our family of churches but camping in all its forms is one of the most important things we do. While this year’s numbers will not be reported for some time there are thousands and thousands of individual stories in the journey of life in Christ that are unfolding even as you read this letter.
We spoke earlier this year about the Angus Reid survey on prayer and that those in the Canadian population who pray frequently have been influenced by being encouraged and taught to pray as children (over 90% of them). For those that this does not happen for there is single digit percentage engagement in prayer as adults. For more on this go to Angus Reid’s website and look up the BC Provincial Prayer Breakfast. Angus Reid measures spirituality in Canada not by church attendance (I don’t happen to agree with him but nonetheless that is what he says) but by prayer and a kind of mature prayer that he describes in his speech: A relationship with God in the person of his son the Lord Jesus Christ takes form and shape as a child learns to pray. Children learn the beginnings of that conversation, sometimes the initial relationship with Christ, and so very often a sense of community at summer camp. Summer camp is often a place where initial commitments are made. Recommitment, individuation, and early maturity all start in this unusual and wonderful place. I know because at the age of 9 having moved homes and already having attended 4 different schools I discovered a personal relationship with Christ at Gull Lake camp. The prayers of many encouraged that commitment but it was my decision nonetheless. Thousands of children… Thousands of stories… All at so many different stages from the conception of faith through the long journey to relationship and the even longer journey to ongoing maturity. Pray for children who have been to camp, those presently there, those in these final weeks yet to come, and most especially the Christian communities practicing intergenerational worship who will receive them.
Thanks be to God.
Notes from the Family: Thanksgiving for Valerie Milne, wife of Bruce Milne, who served at First Baptist in Vancouver, who passed away recently after a long struggle with cancer. Valerie was wise, hospitable, loving, with a wonderful Scottish sense of humour. Please pray for Bruce and family at this time.
Quote of the week: Jon Meacham mentions in his book American Gospel that Harry Truman had not 1 but 2 scripture verses for his inauguration. He laid his hands on 2 open bibles: one open at the 10 Commandments, the other on the Beatitudes.