Our second annual Arts for Kids’ Souls Summer Camp (AFKS) ended at noon today with some 120 children and adults delighting in one another’s company while eating hotdogs and everything that goes with them. This lunch-time picnic was the culmination of a precious week that marveled at God’s creation, the loveliness of children and the wonder of relationships that are both nurturing and affirming, and filled with encouragement and joy.
Jesus teaches that children have a very special place in the heart of God (Mark 10:13-15, Matthew 19:13-15, Luke 18:15-17) and that children should have a special place in our hearts, too. AFKS camp creates the kind of sacred space that simply allows God’s love to come alive within us and among us.
My heartfelt thanks and my unending admiration goes out to the more than 30 adult leaders, counselors and teachers who made this year’s camp possible. That’s right, 30+ adult volunteers for our week-long camp. A special thanks to Betsy Lay, our Director of Family Life Ministries, and to Melissa Vaughn, chair of our Children’s Ministries Team whose leadership, organization and attention to tons of details made this year’s camp soar.
I’ve thought of many things as I have talked with our AFKS leaders, our children and our families this week. Time and again I have found myself sitting back in wonder while saying to myself, “If we’re looking for signs of hope for the world, come take a look at AFKS.” This is the kind of hope that is grounded in the wondrous love that will not let us go. It is the kind of hope that is centered in unending welcome and acceptance. It is the kind of hope that offers the peace that passes all understanding. This peace unfolds when God’s purposes and our lives come together.
You have the opportunity to see joyous hope come alive right before your very eyes this Sunday. During worship we’ll celebrate this year’s AFKS summer camp and the children will share their camp experiences. You won’t want to miss it. I’m guessing you have a friend who would also appreciate this picture of hope. Why not invite them to come to church with you this week?
Please keep our beloved church in your prayers. I remember you in mine. I’ll see you Sunday.
Speaking of hope, I want to let you know that Father Michael Lapsley, SSM, will be with us this October. An Anglican Priest, Father Lapsley was very active in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Because of his activism, Father Lapsley was targeted for assassination by the white South African government. On April 28, 1990, Father Lapsley opened a letter-bomb and lost both hands and one eye. Since then he has had an incredible life journey focusing on healing, reconciliation and redemption. Father Lapsley’s Institute for the Healing of Memories touches lives around the world. And in October, Father Lapsley will touch our lives.
Please mark October 19th, 20th, and 21st on your calendar. Details of specific opportunities to be with Father Lapsley will follow in future eBlasts and bulletins.
Also, I encourage you to read Father Michael Lapsley’s recently released autobiography: “Redeeming the Past: My Journey from Freedom Fighter to Healer”. It is a powerful witness to the reality of transformation and the power of hope. Copies are available to borrow or buy in the church office. If you’re interested in participating in an online book study, let us know.