This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, July 26, 2019
This week I had the precious gift of visiting some folks I hadn’t seen for a while, all spending the week together at Ryerson’s Family Camp (think, Turkey Point, but not quite). With Abbey doing her first placement there with the staff (part of her next steps after Leadership Development Camp), it was the perfect excuse/opportunity to head their way for a while. Wonderful as it was to check in on our leader in training, it was also quite wonderful to see families I’ve been thinking about and praying for since we met in August 2016: me, the adults’ teaching pastor that week; them, the inspiring and courage-filled parents on a sacred break from their regular lives. With a few dads and grandparents in the mix, they were and are families predominantly led by single mothers, doing everything they can to raise their children in some very hard circumstances.
So there I was getting a little bit caught up, with Lydia and Mary and more, when I started to take note, really take note, of the leaders on site. On the edge of a cherished, post-lunch ‘rest hour’, some senior leaders were quietly moving to meetings to cope with the morning’s fresh challenges. Another mix of counsellors was setting up for water games of camp field proportions. Still others were somehow getting 8 year olds excited about finishing dishes for 78 campers plus staff, and the balance were persuading the littlest ones that naps were part of camp life, too. It all seemed to work like an easy-going, almost effortless machine, except that there’s nothing effortless about it.
What I was able to witness, even in those fleeting hours of visit, was the culmination of generations of investment. For all the knowledge and ingenuity that comes with each new summer of directors and counsellors (they didn’t have an oversized slip ‘n slide on the south hill in 2016), there is a powerful, almost palpable sense of inherited wisdom and faith. Leaders are there because they are called and equipped, as unique and strong entities – and yet they also couldn’t be there, wouldn’t be there, were it not for those who have encouraged, modelled, invited, tapped, and taught why it all matters. In this year’s Family Camp team alone, the teaching pastor serves alongside a director who was once in her youth group. Another director serves alongside his mom, who gives up a week of vacation time to care for the most vulnerable on site. One of the longest serving counsellors, who could no doubt earn a much bigger summer salary elsewhere, is not only passing on his techniques for robot-themed sponge wars, but also his faith… as given to him by his father, who happens to have given up two weeks of his summer for the last 20 years and more, to help with the same Leadership Development Camp that brought Abbey there this year. You see how the cycle goes…
To all of them, and all of you: thank you. A thousand times over, thank you. For all the times and all the ways and all the sacrifices and investments in people, lives, and faith journeys, thank you. In ways that cannot be tallied, you are supporting families and communities beyond your knowing and seeing. But I am quite convinced that God sees and knows every ounce, and rejoices in your faithful, Christ-like Love.
With love to you all,
“With my wonder in your soul, make my wounded children whole;
go and tell my precious people they are mine.” (Daniel Charles Damon, More Voices 161)