We are back from the SMC Camp Meeting this past week!
We had a group of 12 head out to Plow Creek farm to set ourselves up in tent villages on the small meadow there. It was a great turn out for our community, and for the event as a whole. With 100 people representing 7 different communities, there was no shortage of conversation to be had. There were young folks to connect with, as well as lots of older folks to learn from. I sat in on several workshops, to learn about a life-transforming creative writing project going on in San Quentin prison, how to sustain community for the long haul, and the differing needs of folks in community who are at different life stages.
Nearly every member of our Third Way representative group remarked how welcomed they felt, how much the event felt like a family reunion, and how much fun they were having! And it did feel like family, too. There were many faces, all friendly, all willing to sit down to conversation with any one of us.
The highlight of the weekend (for me, anyway!) was a “lack-of-talent” show (variety show) that took place on Saturday night. It was long, but amazing. Watching folks make fools of themselves, folks express their hearts through poetry or song, and having fun all together as a big group was a unifying experience. I certainly know what I’m looking forward to at the next camp meeting.
Seth shared with the group on Friday morning, sharing his own story and the story of God, encouraging us as we write our own stories. Some points that stood out to me from the teaching were the ideas Seth shared about how to be a good protagonist. He mentioned that a good protagonist has to want something! A good story includes the protagonist pursuing something meaningful, something worthwhile in his or her own life. Seth also encouraged us to fall in love with Jesus as a person. To love Jesus, not his ethics or the things he believed.
We heard about SMC’s relationship to Valle Nuevo, a village in El Salvador. We saw a slideshow with photos from this year’s delegation group to Valle Nuevo. This relationship is one of the primary reasons that SMC pools resources together. It was encouraging for me to see a very large group of communities sharing resources for more that its own sake!
There was lots of free time to connect with folks–swimming, meals, hikes, campfires, sitting around, shooting the breeze!
At the end of weekend there was an “open mic” time for anybody to share things they had learned, ways they had been encouraged by the gathering. Folks’ observations were very meaningful! In all honesty, I half-expected that time to be lame. But it wasn’t! It wasn’t sappy or boring or drawn out. It was moving, humorous, unifying. Praise God. That “affirmations” time was followed by a chance for each community to offer 2 prayer requests, and to be prayed for by someone in the crowd. We wrapped up the weekend by taking communion together and then sharing the noontime meal.
Hopefully I can get some photos up here! Let me work on that. For now, i hope you enjoyed the update!