This past month we held a family celebration at Tall Oaks Conference Center, our region’s camp in Linwood, Kansas. The eldest of our four generations had been volunteers at Tall Oaks long years ago and they love to return to its familiar beauty and relive the memory of friendships that the camp evokes.

Back in the day, Mom and Dad used to take the grandchildren out to Tall Oaks. Now, here were those adult grandchildren returning to the grounds, with their own children scurrying underfoot.
At one point during the lazy Sunday afternoon I paused to be attentive to the convergence of three sacred streams in life:

– the intricate weaving of individuals into extended family,
– the ways in which nature invites us to be present to the Holy,
– and the gift of faith passed down from generation to generation in family and in community.

I very much appreciate Tall Oaks as one “church” space in which those three streams can be experienced and explored. The camp is close enough to be handy for a day activity and yet just removed enough from the metropolitan hustle and bustle to be “away.”

The camp is available for individual retreat time or to host a family or church event. The summer camp season is almost here with offerings for every age including Grand and Me, a camp for K-3rd graders and grandparents. Our own Rev. Chuck Pickrel is helping to lead two camps this summer, Eighters and CYF, the senior high youth experience.

After the rest of the family departed on Sunday evening, I lingered for a time, first recalling the passage from Psalm 78:3-4:

These are things we learned from our ancestors,
and we will tell them to the next generation.
We won’t keep secret the glorious deeds
and the mighty miracles of the LORD.

Then I paused to pen a simple prayer:

Holy One of the ages,
we discover your goodness in each passing breath
and the expanse of all creation.
Through the gifts of your eternal Spirit
may we help others to recognize You
in prayer and in presence, in stillness and in service.