There was no Music, Arts, & Drama (MAD) camp AT camp this summer. But we did have a virtual “Camp Quarantine” on Zoom last week. I was skeptical, but it turned out to be both fun and moving — proof (if any was needed) that I don’t know nearly as much as I think I do.
We started by touching base with each other. “What’s on your heart?” sort of things. No surprise: we’re ALL ready for the pandemic to be over, but I was tickled that some of the kids were using the time to get better on a musical instrument; one girl was writing songs and short stories; and one boy, Ben, was enjoying his new cat, also named Ben. That got us laughing at the weird things neighbors who don’t know about the cat might think if they overhear: “Ben, stop licking yourself,” “Ben, thanks for the mouse parts, but I’ve got all I need,” or even, “For heaven’s sake, Ben, can’t you poop in the box?!” (Poop jokes are hilarious at any camp, Christian or not).
We played a Pictionary-like game that reminded us our artistic campers and counselors were not in attendance.
We read Luke 5 where Jesus heals a man with leprosy (the much-feared disease of that day). One result was: crowds sought him out to offer praise. But instead of basking in their adulation, he retreated to a lonely place (sort of quarantined himself) and prayed.
That led to a brief, but deep, conversation followed by a scavenger hunt for a list of “camp-ish” items (a nametag, a friendship bracelet, a dandelion seed head, a flashlight, etc.). James, my co-director, then revealed that these were symbols used in the curriculum MAD Camp would have studied. That gave us an excuse to talk about Biblical ways to build relationships, grow, find our way, and such. In good camp fashion, some-times the connections were thin, other times they were profound. The flashlight, for instance, was a great excuse to discuss how God helps us find our way in dark times. You’ll be happy to know the kids listed parents, teachers, the Bible, friends and even ministers(!) as God-given resources to help do that.
Next, we sang “Pharaoh, Pharaoh,” mostly because it’s fun and gave us a chance to move, but also because God got the Hebrews through 40-years of disruption when nothing was what it used to be and the future was uncertain.
We closed with each person offering a sentence prayer before singing my beloved “Amen Chorus” (I inflict it on campers even more often than on you).
I was impressed with how camp-like the whole thing felt to campers and counselors alike. I thought there might be some whining; there was none. The kids looked forward to the very real possibility that camp will return next year. Indeed, my sense was that they were optimistic about the future in general — not because of some naïve hope that a vaccine will appear tomorrow, but because they (we) really do believe that all our tomorrows are in God’s hands.
A good theme scripture for Camp Quarantine would be this slightly revised version of the end of Romans 8: “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation (including Covid 19), will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Outdoor Service Continues at Least Thru September
Our elders have decided to extend the 7:30 outdoor service at least through September. As always, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, we’ll move indoors to the Faith Connection Center. We’ll also continue to feature guest speakers. Social distancing and masks will be required. Speaking of which…
Our Covid Response
…In light of the recent uptick in Covid 19 cases, FCC will no longer ask people to wear a mask and observe social distance. Instead, we must insist on it — not only for worship, but for any events that happen in our facility. If you are helping with such an event, please let your people know that we believe this “no exceptions policy” is necessary if we are to truly love our neighbor. Thanks!
Pastoral Search Team
Council Chair Mickey Koehler has appointed John Springsteen, Dave Gow, Cheryl Girman, Leslie Maxwell, Stephen Howell, Ruth Lang, and Doug Ross to be our Pastoral Search Team. Mickey will be an ex officio member. They want to get a jump start to be ready when Rev. Dave & Karen move next spring.
Summer Online Event
Plans are in the works for a spiritual, insightful event (did I mention fun?) coming in August. Kathy Light, Minister of Spiritual Care, is developing it around the theme, “Living Loved.” This means: living my life like a person who is really loved.
It changes us and it changes the people around us. So often we lose sight of how greatly we are loved, and we tend to see the gray skies of life as the strongest force affecting how we live. Let’s face it: these are “gray-sky times.” The stress of this pandemic is a second health hazard affecting us all. How do we choose to live in the midst of it? This event will help us learn to connect our faith with our daily lives.
Kathy will be joined by some familiar FCC faces including Sue Ann Benham and Denise Murray. Look for personal story sharing, music, art, guided meditation in the garden and an onsite “pilgrimage” on the grounds of FCC. We are asking you to register. It’s free, but we’d like to know who is joining us online (via YouTube). Once you register, before the event, we will send or deliver a package with materials to help make your experience more meaningful.
It will be available Wednesday, 8/26, (and anytime after). To register, please email Kathy (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call her (219) 508-0418. Please include your name, address, phone number.
Stepping Up to Help
Beth Ingram, FCC elder and director at Miller’s Merry Manor in Portage, contacted Joyce Knauff to see if some of our women could sew washable isolation gowns for use at her facility. The cost of securing disposable PPE has risen greatly, IF the company could even find some to purchase! It seemed that reusable gowns would certainly be a good solution.
Carole Horner, Joyce Knauff, Jane Maxwell, Marian Worden, and Diane Yeager combined their efforts to finish 37 gowns! The one above was sewn by Diane. The 37 gowns were delivered to Beth just two weeks after the pattern and materials were received.
Well Done, Ladies!!
Help is Needed!
As most of you know, Ulrike and Bill Jannausch have moved to Alaska. Ulrike was our faithful weekly keeper of the indoor plants at FCC. We need someone to step in before all the greens turn brown. You can come and be by yourself in the church during the week. The church provides a watering can, pruning sheers, and water. If you can help, please call the church office.
Also, we need someone to take Linda Farris’ place as caretaker of the Communion Table. This involves keeping it clean and tidy as well as checking the oil candles and wicks about every two weeks.
Again, if this is something you are able and willing to do, please call the church office. This service can also be done during the week when only the secretary is here and you can have the rest of the building all to yourself.
About Our Music
We’d like to celebrate the fact that Dan and our band and choir members have been offering God some truly great music! Choir folk: even with masks and social distancing, you are amazing!!
Dan tells us this coming Sunday, July 26, a men’s quartet will sing an exciting barbershop number, “It’s a Great, Great Morning.” On August 2, the ensemble from our recorded service will probably share “How Beautiful.” And Reagan Weitzel will bless us with a solo sometime this coming August as well.
The whole choir will rehearse on Wednesday, August 5 at 7:00 (as with their performances, rehearsals are always socially distanced and masked). Then on Sunday, August 9, they’ll sing “City of Joy.”
They’ll rehearse again on Wed-nesday, August 19, and return to regular Wednesday rehearsals each week starting, September 2.
After that, the choir will sing pretty much every Sunday, starting September 6; and they’ll offer a Christmas cantata in Decem-ber. They also have a thrilling Easter cantata that was postponed by the quarantine, but that they might share with us on some Sunday this fall.
Dan wants all FCC folk to know that anyone — of whatever age or musical ability — is VERY welcome to join the choir for these rehearsals and performances: “Just bring your mask and a willingness to make a joyful noise unto the Lord!”