The Rt. Rev. David Reed Invites Churches to Celebrate Camp Sunday on February 13, 2022
On Sunday, February 13, churches across the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas are encouraged to celebrate our annual Camp Sunday, giving thanks for this vibrant and vital part of our life together. This year marks the 75th anniversary of Camp Capers, a remarkable Christ-centered ministry for all ages that has grown into our beautiful and transformative diocesan camping program at three locations, including Mustang Island Conference Center on the Gulf Coast and Duncan Park in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
In these very different environments, the people of our Diocese and broader South Texas community participate in a wide variety of camp sessions and conferences, all with the same mission: to bring people into a closer relationship with God through the wonder and beauty of his creation; to offer holy ground and generous hospitality to those seeking rest and renewal; to foster Christ-centered community at every level of camp life.
Apportionment dollars from our congregations generously support diocesan camps and conferences through the annual budget, but they do not fully fund the exceptionally effective ministries of our three sites. Thus, a special offering on Camp Sunday is encouraged, so that more financial assistance might be offered and more people might be reached.
In normal summers (think back three years), more than 2,100 children, youth and adults attend one or more of our camping programs. Most are Episcopalian, and many are not—including those who know little about God’s love for them. Camp Capers and Mustang Island Conference Center host groups year-round for parish weekends, Cursillo, Vestry retreats, Spiritual Retreats in Recovery, Mother-Daughter/Father-Son weekends, as well as school groups, Scouts, and many other non-profit organizations who enjoy time in the Hill Country or at the beach. Duncan Park also welcomes retreat and family groups during its Fall Season, from August through early October.
Camp life and conferences are primary means of sharing the Good News and forming disciples. They are a wide-open doorway to invite those outside the Church to encounter the living God.
Celebrate? How can we not?!
Included below are some fun and creative ideas for helping your church celebrate Camp Sunday, including the new Camps and Conferences promotional video. I hope they will help you spread the good news about the ministry of camps and conferences in West Texas.
The pandemic has been hard on everyone and the camping world was not spared. But Camp Capers, Mustang Island Conference Center, and Duncan Park all found ways to welcome and serve people, even in the restrictive and reduced circumstances of COVID. This ministry will only become more vital, and even urgent, as we continue to experience the corrosive, lingering impact of the pandemic on children, youth, adults and our communities.
Camps and conferences that are set in the beauty of God’s creation and focus on building community set in Christ, will become places of healing and restoration, even more than they have in the past.
This, too, is worth celebrating, and worthy of our full support.
God bless you, and I’ll see you outside.
Love in Christ,
Bishop of West Texas and Camp Counselor
Camp Sunday Resources & Ideas
Share the new Camps & Conferences Video as part of your congregation's Camp Sunday. Filmed during Summer 2021 the seven and a half minute video tells the story of the diocesan camping programs at Camp Capers, Mustang Island Conference Center, and Duncan Park - where children, youth, and adults work, play, and grow together as they develop a community of trust, openness, and sharing. The video is available to play or download online, at vimeo.com/dwtx.
Share the Camp Sunday social media square, featuring the diocesan scripture verse for 2022, alongside a favorite summer photo from camper families in your church, to show your churches' camp spirit. Click here to save the graphic to your Downloads Folder.
Let the appointed Lectionary readings for Sunday, February 13, help you tell the story of camp. Click here to open a collection of prayers and liturgies for Camp Sunday.
Tell the story of camp: invite members of your congregation (clergy, youth, camp counselors, Family Camp participants, alumni, etc.) to share a personal camp story on Camp Sunday. Choosing speakers of varying ages and with different types of camp experiences may be particularly helpful. A grandparent who shared sunset S'mores with their grandkids at Mustang Island Family Camp, a young adult who heard the whispers of the Holy Spirit on a hike at Duncan Park, a child who formed life-giving, long-distance friendships at Camp Capers, or a camp employee who has witnessed over and over again the transformative nature of camp - each one has a different story to tell. For a list of possible guest speakers available to speak at your church, contact Rob Watson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.