Camps step forward as places of refuge


Special to the Advocate

A year after Hurricane Katrina, things are looking better for a lot of folks and not much better for others.  

Those who were devastated and those who received only a glancing blow from the storm continue to sift through the red tape and plod along one next step at a time. 

The same is true of United Methodist-related camping institutions in Mississippi. While Gulfside Assembly took the full force of the storm, and Seashore Assembly also received a devastating hit, both have served as a resource and refuge for relief and recovery in the last year. Art Steinaway’s crew at Seashore was serving hundreds of meals daily almost immediately after Katrina struck. 

While Camp Lake Stephens and Wesley Pines Camp and Conference Center suffered tree damage and loss of power, both still served as evacuee centers in the time of crisis. Looking back, the Mississippi Conference can be thankful that God enabled the camps to reach out to others in their time of need. 

As the recovery continues, many are still assessing their resources – what they have, what they need and what may come. That’s true of camping institutions as well. As camping ministries serve others, they’re asking: 

  • How do we recover? 
  • How do we rebuild?
  • What are our resources? 

You and your church can be a part of the recovery and ongoing ministry of these historic and important places of God’s work. Camping Sunday is Sept. 10 in the Mississippi Conference, and an annual conference offering is scheduled for that day churches may pick an alternate Sunday in September if desired.  As you assess what you have, conference Camping Ministries invites you to give generously so that camps may reclaim the work to which God has called them, said Rev. David Carroll, Camping chair.