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Reflections with Camp & Retreat Ministries

Covid-19 Update 

Greetings from Camp and Retreat Ministries,

In the book of Hebrews, we find this definition of faith: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I struggled with faith this past week because there was a time that there was not much that I was hoping for or much that I was convinced about other than this experience has gone on longer than I wanted and its effects are going to be around longer than I would like. There were a few days of darkness and sadness for me as I wrestled with the implications of this virus and the guidelines from the state of Oregon. You may have heard that as the state released its guidelines for day camps. For school aged children, it had this line in it: “Overnight camps are not permitted to open or operate at this time.”

This line was a difficult blow for some of my colleagues and others were able to discern that the governor’s office has not yet done the work around overnight camps. Stay tuned; it is coming, hopefully prior to the projected end of phase 1 (June 5th). Idaho is on a completely different trajectory with phase 2 already begun. So, what is one to do while struggling with their faith?

As I do nearly every morning, I went out for a walk. Shortly after I began, I had the joy of experiencing a rare moment of stillness around me. The birds were still, silent in their nighttime slumber. For a few moments,noise of cars, trains and planes were absent. There was no wind and no rain.  In that moment there was calm and connection with the Divine that lifted my soul.

Along the walk, I pondered the nature of faith. Less about definition and more about what it looks like in this moment. I have a standard walking route that takes me on a narrow and winding road. My regular route includes a cutoff that allows for safe passage to an area that has sidewalks. On this morning, I was faced with the choice of taking my regular route or choosing a different one. One that I had driven on many times, even biked once, but never walked and always thought those who were walking along this road were a bit crazy and reckless. As I pondered faith, it meant several things to me: 1) take a different route. 2) engaging with unknown.  3) knowing that this route was perceived as dangerous/risky.  4) the end of the walk will be normal. 5) I trusted drivers to give me room and yet I was prepared to jump into whatever was beside me to avoid a car if necessary.

In the end,  I came to understand that there was reward and risk for having taken a different route: seeing and smelling different elements of creation, the perception of risk was not nearly as great as I had imagined (only one car passed me and it crossed the double yellow to give me a wide path.) There are drivers out there who do care about those of us who are walking. When I connected with my regular route, this experience had changed me and changed my experience of the last two miles of this walk.

How is this experience of the pandemic impacting your relationship with God? Now that you are on this road, what are you learning? How will you prepare yourself for a different world than you remember? Where does trust fit into this journey for you? And what is the danger/risk that you perceive that is likely less dangerous than you imagine?

While the pandemic creates a different context for us in camp and retreat ministry, these questions are a normal part our lives: they are why camp impacts our faith, our relationships with others, and our connection with creation.

See you around the campfire soon,

Rev. Todd Bartlett

Executive Director on Camp and Retreat Ministries

Camps and Retreats Cancelled Due to Covid-19

As time progresses, amidst this pandemic, our Camp and Retreat Ministry is doing all we can to ensure the safety of our guests by closely following the guidelines provided by professionals in Idaho and Oregon. With that said, we invite you to check this weekly publication frequently for an updated list of camps and retreats that have been cancelled:

  • Memorial Day Family Camp- Camp Magruder
  • 75th Anniversary Celebration- Camp Magruder
  • All youth Horse Camps- Wallowa Lake Camp
  • Shakespeare Retreat- Camp Latgawa
  • Quilt Enthusiast Retreat- Suttle Lake Camp 
  • Strength for the Journey- Suttle Lake Camp 
  • Sacred Threads * Moved to August 17-20, 2020 *- Wallowa Lake Camp

Please note that some events that are still on the calendar may be held at a different time if conditions and calendar allow. 

Blessings Report

  • Beautiful weather that brings the promise of a new season
  • Opportunities for self discovery and growth 
  • Steady and focused leadership, directing our sites. 

Please send your blessings to share in future issues of the e-news. Click on this link 


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