With the challenges and changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders of Moravian camping ministries across the Northern and Southern Provinces have been prayerfully considering what to do with the 2020 season. As of May 22, 2020, four of church’s camping programs — Laurel Ridge in North Carolina, Mt. Morris in Wisconsin, Camp Hope in New Jersey and Mid-States Camping (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio) — have all decided to cancel stay-over camps for this summer.
Laurel Ridge (Southern Province)
Laurel Ridge leadership posted the following:
“Your passion for Laurel Ridge Camp, Conference and Retreat Center is what makes it such a special place; a place where we all look forward to returning year after year. Our plan, determined by the Laurel Ridge Board of Directors is to transition all Summer Camp programs to a virtual platform, and cancel all Mission Camps. We recognize, too, that we are in a fluid, evolving situation. Children all over the world are being asked to give up what they deserve: time each day to learn new things, grow as people and, most importantly, be with friends. Staying home from school, sports, and beloved activities is a difficult sacrifice for children to not only make, but to understand.
Out of an abundance of caution, we have also decided to postpone our 60th Celebration to the 18th of September, coinciding with Fall Family Camp. Currently, all Fall activities will occur as scheduled.
We encourage you to stay tuned to our social media channels in the coming days for exciting updates and some Live Camp fun (Crafts with Scarlett, M-staff games at home, Laurel Ridge coloring pages, and other rainy day ideas?! Start thinking!).”
The Laurel Ridge staff has put together an innovative virtual program to keep campers connected: The “We Are One in the Spirit” Camp Crate! Contact Scarlett Dowdy, program manager, for more information.
Western District Camping
Western District Camping shared this:
“Dear Colleagues and Friends of the Western District:
I hope you all are staying safe and healthy. I write to you today to share with you the news that the Camping Ministry Committee today made the very difficult decision to cancel our Western District, Western Region summer church camps. Specifically, this would include Minndy, 4-M, Junior Camp, Winmor, and Chetek.
Please note that our Mid-States camps (Tar Hollow, Illiana, and Bethany Junior Camp) have not yet made a final decision on their summer camps. (see below)
Your Western Region camp directors are working on alternatives for camp this year. These may include, but not be limited to, a virtual gathering of camp aged students and staff, perhaps doing a one-day socially-distanced camp event for families at Mt. Morris, or getting some camp-themed materials through email and/or snail mail. If you would normally be coming to camp this year, we encourage you to contact your camp director (www.wdcamping.org) and they can let you know what alternative plans they may be working on.
The decision to cancel our camps at Mt. Morris this year obviously puts a huge financial strain on Mt. Morris Camp and Retreat Center. I would encourage you as a congregation and as individuals to be thinking of ways that you could support Mt. Morris financially (www.mt-morris.org). The Western District has decided to funnel the money that would normally have been used for Western District Western Region camp vouchers to go to Mt. Morris. Perhaps your local church would want to consider money that had been raised for local church camp scholarships to be sent to Mt. Morris so that we can still have our camps there next year. Or, if you have money in an endowment fund that is normally earmarked for camp scholarships perhaps it could go to Mt. Morris. We would encourage whatever governing board responsible for camp oversight to consider this. Even if your congregation does not normally send children to camp, perhaps this is the year you could make a special individual or congregational gift to Mt. Morris.
Please stay tuned as our camp directors share more definitive plans for other opportunities for our children to gather this summer. Please be in prayer for our camping program this summer.
Serving Christ with you,
Rev. Bruce J. Nelson
On behalf of the Western District Executive Board”
Camp Hope (Eastern District)
Camp Hope leadership shared,
“Dear Campers, Families and Friends,
Grace, Mercy and Peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ be with you all! We are writing to you on behalf of the Camp Hope Board of Management.
Please know that you have all been in our thoughts and prayers as we travel through this time of uncertainty and unease. None of us could have ever imagined that 2020 would find many of us staying in our homes, restaurants and stores being closed along with parks and playgrounds. We are aware of the fact that many of you have been anxiously waiting to hear what would be happening at Camp Hope this summer.
After significant discussion, prayers and reviewing of information that has been made available to us from the CDC as well as the ACA (American Camp Association), we have reached the incredibly difficult yet necessary decision to not have summer camps this year. We did not come to this decision lightly and we are as sad about this as you are. Camp Hope holds a special place in all of our lives and knowing that the sin ging, laughter, and love of our campers and volunteers will not happen this summer hurts our hearts.
We will be working with our Conference Deans to figure out ways to help you still connect with each other and with Camp Hope. This could include doing some program activities through a Zoom call or Google classroom, camp fires and nature walks posted on Camp Hope’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
We are working on creating “Box of Hope” which will include some Bible Study activities, coloring pages, outdoor activities and a few Camp Hope Surprises! (Details about the cost and how to pick up your box will be publicized shortly.)
In addition to the virtual camp experiences and “Box of Hope” activities, we are planning weekend retreats hopefully in the f all and winter for Pre-Primary, Primary, Middler, Jr High and Sr High/Post High campers. With the exception of Sr High/Post High weekend which is MLK weekend in January, all other dates will be publicized soon. It is our intention to allow campers to register for either the weekend that correlates with the week of camp that they would have been at camp for this summer or to attend the weekend that correlates with the camp they will attend next summer.
Please be sure to check the following three places for information and opportunities to connect with Camp Hope this summer.
- Our webpage- http://camphope.org/
- Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/2229363058/
- Instagram (camphopecenter)
The decision to cancel our camps this year obviously puts a financial strain on Camp Hope. We do realize that we will have fewer expenses this year with the lack of a complete summer long staff, food, etc. but we have also lost significant income due to cancellation of multiple rental groups from the months of March through August.
If you are able, please consider making a financial donation to Camp Hope, it’s as easy as mailing a check to the camp office (Camp Hope, PO Box 165, Hope NJ, 07844.) There are several other ways to support the ministry of Camp Hope listed on our webpage that you can access through the Support link. If you have already registered and paid for a week or two of camp this summer, you will receive an email giving you multiple options for what to do with your registration fees
In the 5th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans, we read these words, “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
During this time of sadness, separation, and surrealness, let us rely on God and the love that we have for one another and for Camp Hope, to bring us through this time stronger on the other side while constantly clinging to the Hope that lives inside us all.
With Faith, Hope, and Love,
Rev. Jodie Harney
Chair, Board of Management
Mid-States Camping (Eastern & Western Districts)
Leadership for Mid-States Camping (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio) shared this news on Friday, May, 22:
“Friends and Partners in Ministry:
It is with a heavy heart, yet with hope in our Risen Christ, that we communicate the following announcement. The Mid-States Youth Ministries Committee, in consultation with the Western District Executive Board and the Eastern District Executive Board, have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 mid-states camps (Tar Hollow, Illiana, and Bethany) due to the inherent implications of the current pandemic upon the camping environment. This was not a decision easily made and comes after multiple online meetings with other Moravian camping programs across both the Northern and Southern Province.
We would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers who annually support our camping programs and the campers themselves, who make each camp the wonderful experience of faith and kinship that it is. Although we will grieve the loss of this year’s camping program, we are already looking forward to next time we can gather in the spirit of faith, united in song, warmed by the campfires, and united in our love for Jesus Christ.
In the meantime, let us be united in prayer now for those who have been affected by this pandemic – for lives lost and for lives dedicated to courageously caring for those many suffering from COVID-19.
Grace and peace,
Mid-States Youth Ministries Committee
Western District Executive Board
Eastern District Executive Board”
Leadership for Canadian District Camping (Camp VanEs) are still considering options for 2020.
Additional information will be shared when available.