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Reflections with
Camp & Retreat Ministries


A World of Wonder

Vision statement for Camp and Retreat Ministries:
We look forward to a world filled with wonder, love, and justice. 

During the first few weeks of 2023 I shared with you about the mission statement of the Board of Camp and Retreat Ministries. As we continue the journey into this year, I would like to explore with you our vision statement, and offer some reflections about it.

A vision statement should be aspirational. It recognizes that things are not yet as we hope them to be, but it also helps us see more clearly where we want to go, and it give us direction as we do our work. The Board wrestled with many words over the course of several months to arrive at this statement. The word "justice" prompted a lot of conversation. I will cover that in a couple of weeks. Today I would like to lead with “wonder."

The photo above of the trillium, with its tiny white spider hidden in plain sight, is one of my favorites. Having grown up in Minnesota I was not familiar with trillium before moving to the Northwest. But even after living in Oregon for nearly 20 years I really didn't know about this flower until we moved to the Collins Retreat Center. After my first spring watching the trillium sprout, flower, and wilt, I was mesmerized by it. Each spring there was a bit of a contest in our family to see who would spot the first trillium as we walked the trails. It never got old, and there was always wonder, awe, and curiosity about the flower and how it shows up. 

I have found that God’s creation is one of the most wonder-inducing gifts that we have. Humans also cause wonder to be activated. Sometimes we shake our heads with wonder as we try to figure out why someone did what they did. Other times we are filled with wonder at the brilliance, generosity, or kindness that one human offers to another. 

I’m curious about what brings you to experience wonder. What are the places that always move you there? What are the people who amaze you? When was the last time you simply stood in wonder of someone or something? I hope that you look for wonder this week. Drop me a note if you get a chance. 

See you on the adventure ahead,

Rev. Todd Bartlett 
Executive Director of Camp and Retreat Ministries

*PHOTO: Trillium in the spring at the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center (Todd Bartlett).

Our New Publication!

We are excited to announce that on every third Monday of the month, we are bringing you a new publication called Tending the Fire, which will offer a deeper look at the people who make up Camp and Retreat Ministries. We'll be sharing stories from our campers, donors, staff, and volunteers, highlighting the impact CRM has had on them. We hope these stories will teach and inspire you, and that you'll catch the spark of excitement that leads you to increased involvement in this ministry, in whatever ways you can. We will also be posting each month's story on our Facebook page the following Monday. Please share these stories with friends and family!

*PHOTO: Campfire at Magruder (Troy Taylor).

Blessings Report

  • Talented staff
  • God’s creation that opens us to wonder
  • Prophetic voices that call us to justice

 Please send your blessings to share in future issues of the e-news. 

Lost in Wonder, Love, and Praise

The final stanza of one of Charles Wesley's most beloved hymns, Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, is this: 

Finish, then, thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation perfectly restored in thee;
changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Like our vision statement, Wesley's hymn is aspirational. And yet those words have been guiding Methodists (and many other Christians, as well!) for over two-and-a-half centuries. There's something so compelling about that vision of being lost in wonder, love, and praise.

In camp & retreat ministry, we have the opportunity to invite others to enter into loving community in the midst of God's wonder-filled creation. That is a vision that calls us to praise! If you've ever lost yourself in wonder, love, and praise, we hope you will give thanks by supporting this amazing ministry. Join us in celebrating God's world of wonder.

Please donate today! 

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

1505 SW 18th Ave
Portland, OR 97201