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From the Bishop
February 1, 2023

"Camp is the Playground of the Lord" - A Letter from Bishop Reed

Camp Sunday, 2023

Remember thy creator in the days of thy youth. Rise free from care before the dawn, and seek adventures. Let the noon find thee by other lakes, and the night overtake thee everywhere at home. There are no larger fields than these, no worthier games than may here be played. (from Walden, H. D. Thoreau)

Let the earth glorify the Lord,* praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O mountains and hills, and all that grows upon earth…
Glorify the Lord, O springs of water, seas and streams,*
O whales and all that move in the waters
All birds of the air, O beasts of the wild, glorify the Lord.
O men and women everywhere, glorify the Lord.
(from A Song of Creation, Book of Common Prayer, pg. 88)

Dear Friends in Christ,

This Sunday, February 5, is Camp Sunday in the Diocese of West Texas. I hope your church will participate in the special in-gathering in support of camp scholarships, and even more so that you will encourage members, visitors, and friends to come to one of our three camps. If February 5 is not a good day to observe Camp Sunday at your church, congregations may select another Sunday to focus on the life-giving ministries (for all ages) of our camps.

Our three diocesan camps—Camp Capers, Mustang Island Conference Center, and Duncan Park in Colorado—provide endless opportunities for children, youth, and adults to join with the creation that glorifies God. For so many of us, our first experiences of the holy come when we are outside: outside our homes and away from the familiar; outside ourselves, our routines and preoccupations; and out-of-doors amidst the wonder and grandeur of God's natural creation. We discover the glory of God before we have words to describe what we’ve found, and Who has found us.

We truly are blessed in these places with an abundance of “mountains and hills…water, seas and streams…birds and beasts" (Book of Common Prayer, pg. 88). Children learn by playing, and the same is true for the grown-up children of God. At camp, all God’s children can run free, disconnecting and untangling from so much that hinders us, both literally and figuratively. Hearts and minds grow. Faith is renewed and deepened. Friendships form, and love abounds.

Camp is Fun. Totally. And camp is also the playground of the Lord, which means it’s a particular kind of fun—both light-hearted and heart-filling. Life at our camps is often transformative and always grounded in an unapologetically Christian community. Don’t tell the kids, but camp life mirrors a simple Benedictine balance of rest, worship, work, study, and prayer, with a whole lot of fun woven throughout each moment of the day. It's not perfect, of course, but it is a place of welcome, grace, joy, and loving-kindness.

Our camps are a crucial part of the mission of the Church in West Texas. As we practice telling and living the Good News of Jesus, we meet the living Christ in the camp community and send home people of all ages who are stronger in their faith, more ready to serve their local churches and communities.

I’m not making this up, and I’m not exaggerating. I am a recipient of, and a witness to, what “going to camp” can mean in someone’s life. Supporting our camping ministries matters even more as we continue to find our way out of the pandemic hangover, reaching into and beyond our congregations with the message of God's love. Our children have suffered the loss of community, as we all have, and the benefits of technology cannot overcome the deficit of real relationships; experiencing God’s creation first-hand; and simply running free.

Please support Camp Sunday. Help send a kid to camp.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

+David Reed

Camp Sunday Resources

Camp Sunday is a time to share stories of the transformational love and community that takes place at our diocesan camping programs, to invite families and campers to sign up for sessions of Summer Camp or Family Camp at Camp Capers, Mustang Island Conference Center, and Duncan Park, and to raise scholarship funds. Each year, approximately one-third of all camper families rely on partial or full scholarships in order to participate in this vibrant ministry of our diocese. Click here for more information.

Ways to Give

There are three ways for congregations and individuals to give to the Camps Annual Campaign:

  1. Online, at the link above.
  2. Text "Camp" to (210) 796-6805.
  3. Mail a check to the diocesan office*, made out to "DWTX" and labeled "Camp Sunday."

*Diocese of West Texas
Attn: Camp Sunday
P.O. Box 6885
San Antonio, TX 78209

Questions? Contact Rob Watson, Director of Camps & Conferences, for more information.

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