More than 200 people came to Laurel Ridge, the Moravian camp, retreat and conference center, on July 24, 2021 to celebrate 60+1 years of camping. Of course, this celebration was to have been in 2020, but with the catastrophic pandemic we were unable to celebrate and give thanks to God for the years of camping in many forms in our place on the mountain.
Among those attending included some the original M-staffers, their children and their grandchildren, all giving thanks for this special place and sharing their stories, their remembrances, and their gratitude for our home on the “mountain.”
The date chosen for this special observance was nearest to the beginning date 61 years earlier. In July of 1960, the first week of camping—a college-age retreat and then a junior high camp—began our legacy. The following year began a full summer of weeks of camp for the youth of our Southern Province.
Before Laurel Ridge, our province had a summer camping program for our youth, planned through the Board of Christian Education with Bishop George Higgins as the executive. Bishop Higgins was a strong proponent of a camping ministry for the youth of our province. The youth of the province, known as the Moravian Young People’s Union, raised the first $12,000 for the original parcel of land and leaders of our province developed a camping ministry for the youth of our province to grow their faith in Jesus Christ. Today, the Laurel Ridge property has grown to more than 600 acres, with summer and year-round facilities, staff, retreats, conferences and seminars for a variety of study opportunities.
That warm day last summer gave us the opportunity to visit with friends and share remembrances of our time on the mountain. It was a special time of thanksgiving to God for this place, Laurel Ridge. We are grateful for the years and opportunities of Christian growth and learning opportunities in this place set apart for us to discern our journey with Christ our Lord.
Thank you, Bishop George Higgins for asking the question, “Why can’t we have a camp of our own?”
Mallie Graham is a member of Home Moravian Church and a long-time supporter of Laurel Ridge. In photo, Mallie address those at the 2021 celebration. Photos by Art Beroth