Suttle Lake "Branches Out" into Connectional Relationship

Foundation 6: Partner with Local churches and Church-Related Organizations

by Jane Petke, Director of Suttle Lake Camp

I am the vine. You are the branches.

 -  John 15:5

One of the joys in serving in Camp and Retreat Ministries is being a part of the connectional United Methodist Church. Our ministry is intertwined with the work of the larger church and that of local congregations, yet distinct. Together we are all striving to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Suttle Lake Camp, like many of our camp settings, is located in a spot some might consider remote yet knowing that we are part of something much larger offers strength and direction for our ministry.  We are not literally alone in our work - we are interdependent upon one another - nor do all of us do this work for our ministry by ourselves. Much like the grapevines described in chapter 15 of John, we are woven with other branches of the church and rooted in Christ. This connection gives us purpose and nurtures us as we seek to bear abundant fruit through our work. Our relationship with one another, strengthens us and allows us to reach out further than we ever could alone.

During the Confirmation Retreat each spring, this beautiful connection is very tangible as United Methodist Churches both small (sometimes with just one youth attending with their mentor) and large come together to learn, worship, and grow. Our faith and understanding are enriched as we engage with acts of service, church history, the United Methodist social principles, Wesley's quadrilateral, and more. The conversations about how each individual and church lives in Christ informs and inspires in a way that cannot happen when one church meets on their own. The youth are blessed as they experience the larger body of Christ; as a camp leader I am blessed in meeting the youth, their leaders, and hearing about their ministry.

After hearing about the strengths and needs of churches and ministries from around the conference, our connection often inspires and encourages us to work together in creative ways.

From such conversations about collaboration, among many other cases, these instances stand out:

  • Strength For the Journey was born over 30 years ago to create a healing space for those living with HIV/Aids and continues to meet the changing challenges of those facing this disease;
  • Suttle Lake partnered with Fossil United Methodist to sponsor an intern who was exploring a call to ministry which also allowed the church to kick start a successful men’s Bible study;
  • Work continues with Sisters Habitat For Humanity to provide hardworking families in Central Oregon a needed time away together at Creation Vacation.

Together, we are able to reach more people in more ways!

Magruder Choir Camp 2019:

A wonderful Music/Camping experience!

Whether or not you have been to Camp Magruder, you are in for a treat.  Ocean beach access, hiking trails, and wetlands are just a few of the wonderful physical features of this camp.  Then there is the MUSIC!!  It is a weekend of singing together as we prepare for a concert on Sunday evening.  Choir Camp is a natural environment for fun and meaningful friendships to be made and deepened. Plus, there are wonderful meals, an assortment of workshops, and a VARIETY show.  The only requirement to attend is a love of singing.  This event, from February 15 thru 18, 2019, will mark the 34th year of Choir Camp!  Now is the time to register!  For more information – please contact Sally Robertson at

Sawtooth Director Job Announcement

Oregon-Idaho Camp and Retreat Ministries is hiring a director for Sawtooth Camp.  Sawtooth Camp is a beautiful, secluded 120-acre site high in a mountain valley approximately an hour above Fairfield, Idaho.  The Sawtooth National Forest surrounds the camp on three sides and the South Fork of the Boise River runs through the east side of the camp.  Sawtooth Camp has positively influenced lives since 1948 and is a very special place to many people.  Due to the remote location, the camp season is limited to the months of June – October.

The director is responsible for carrying out the mission of creating quality environments of Christian hospitality and learning at Sawtooth Camp.  The primary responsibility is to be a steward of the camp site.  Duties include managing or overseeing staff, to manage lodging and food service, property and facilities maintenance, hiring and oversight of staff, supporting conference programming, booking hospitality groups, administering finances, and public relations.  The camp director is expected to live on-site during the camp season and perform some administrative and marketing duties during the off-season.  Housing during the season is provided at the camp site.

You can find the job description here on the website. Please submit your resume electronically to



Go Camping E-News is a publication of Camp and Retreat Ministries, a collaboration of the OR-ID Conference of the United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon.

1505 SW 18th Ave
Portland, OR 97201