This summer, many different camps were held throughout the presbyteries of the OPC. Many reports and pictures of these gatherings are presented here for your enjoyment:
The Senior High conference was held at Chop Point Camp in Woolwich, Maine on August 15th - 22nd. 72 Campers were in attendance. Teachers were David & Debbie O'Leary (First Pres., Ipswich, MA) teaching on Christ centered relationships and our Evening Speaker was John Van Meerbeke (Living Hope, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) teaching on 1st Peter.
We were blessed with wonderful weather where the campers were able to enjoy many traditional camp activities (swimming, sailing, waterskiing, tennis, etc.) as well as digging into Gods word and fellowship with each other. Thanks to all the staff (kitchen, counselors, activity coordinators and teaching) that made it once again such a great week. Additional pictures and videos can be found on the Facebook group called "Deerwander 2009."
The Middle School Conference had 40 students in attendence. Pastor Stephen Tracey from Rockport, Maine, was our featured evening speaker and he spoke from the book of Daniel. As a staff we are grateful for the opportunity to interact with the students and to spend the week with them, and are praying for God's continued work in their lives.
Nestled at the foot of Long's Peak, Providence's Fall Family Camp at Covenant Heights is a ten minute drive from Estes Park. With over fifty attendees from Denver, Ft. Collins & Spearfish SD, fun was had by all: boating, hiking, and volleyball were some of the more popular activities. The night was illuminated by a full moon and sweet fellowship. The guest speaker, Pastor White of Spearfish (PCA), challenged the families with self-denial in the midst of plenty.
"Broken but Useful" was the theme of this year's youth camp held on June 27th to July 3rd in Camp Judson in Keystone, South Dakota. The expanded theme sought to shape 138 campers, directed by 34 teachers and counselors, how our sovereign God can take a broken vessel and mold it into "an instrument for noble purposes."
Campers came from, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado. Their backgrounds and training vary greatly with churched kids bringing unchurched kids. Several denominations were represented, all are drawn together by one goal to seek and serve the Lord.
Bible lessons were taught in two classes each morning along with a praise time for younger and older campers. Morning and evening devotions were counselor directed and an evening camp fire brings the entire population together for praise and worship. Both lessons and devotions were written by committee members and have proved to be effective.
The campers enjoyed numerous other activities including talent night, organized sports, water fun, hikes and two trips off campus. The 11th and 12th graders spent a day at the Pactola Reservoir with their counselors singing, sports and other activities. The senior campers also climbed Mt. Baldy and got soaked in a down pour while walking to Mt. Rushmore. We had two buses this year, from the Lennox, South Dakota area, which assisted us in transporting campers and counselors to Mt Rushmore and attractions in Rapid City. The counselors were not only busy with their charges, they had devotions and also aided in plays, activities and other jobs that related to the camp
In July, nearly one hundred students and adult leaders from thirteen different churches assembled in Central Florida for the long awaited RYC '09. RYC (Reformed Youth Conference) has become a church family reunion for many of the middle and high school youth in the Presbytery of the South. How wonderful it is to witness the sweet fellowship of the saints and to see the youth's perspective of the OPC broaden beyond their own church, appreciating all the more the beauty of the Body of Christ.
Heroes: Identity Revealed was the theme of RYC '09. Pastor Joel Fick of Redemption OPC in Gainesville taught us about Christ our Champion and our identity in Him as He works and rules in our lives. Pastor Fick also reminded us of our mission as Christians, warned us of our enemies, and challenged us to serve with the gifts we have been given. These main speaking sessions were followed by smaller, counselor lead discussion groups and supplemented with additional topical teaching times particularly geared to the middle school and high school campers.
The Heroes theme was also manifested in the comical skits and crazy games that have become tradition at RYC. This year's skit pulled us into the heroic adventures of Super Hero Person Man and the Justice Team. In addition, the team competitions had us battling for watermelons, diving for flag belts, perfecting the sling shot, crawling like a spider, and leaving us "gross," covered head to toe from the final day's messy war. What joy it is to see relationships strengthened through teamwork and encouragement on the field. In a stressful, demanding world, it is wonderful to see youth being themselves, laughing and having fun.
We praise the Lord for His mercies this year at RYC '09, for the faithful teaching of the Gospel, for all those who served sacrificially, and for the unforgettable fellowship of the saints.
The family camp of the Presbytery of Michigan and Ontario was held this summer.
Seventy-three campers gathered together in from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Indiana July 18-24 in Cleburne, Texas for camp. These campers were joined by 12 work crew, 15 counselors, and 11 staff for a total of 115 persons in attendance.
The camp theme this year was Extreme Makeover Heart Edition. This dovetailed with the spiritual theme of the work of the Holy Spirit. Daily sermons on this theme were provided by the ministers of the Presbytery. There were also seminars taught on the person of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit in the Old Testament, the Spirit and prayer, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
During the week, the campers also memorized a number of Scripture passages, catechism questions and answers, and several verses of hymn #338 – Spirit of God Descend Upon my Heart
In addition to solid spiritual training, the week was filled with a lot of fun. The camp was split up into 6 teams that competed in sports, memory work, skits, and making their own extreme makeover project.
There was also swimming, fishing, cannoeing, a talent night, and a night time glowstick party. One night we even bussed the entire camp to see the Texas Rangers play the Boston Red Socks in Arlington.