By The Christian Church in Ohio & Camp Christian Committee – Wednesday April 29, 2020
Dear Ohio Region,
For 70 years the summers at Camp Christian have been the highlight of the year for so many people. It’s abundantly clear from all of the messages of prayers and support we received over the last few weeks, as well as the number of RSVPs for our modified summer programming that Camp still holds an important place in the hearts and minds of the people of Ohio. The love and passion that so many show for Camp Christian is a great blessing. This has been, and continues to be an amazing and beloved community.
This is an update that we had hoped to never have to write. It is with broken hearts that we share with you the decision to not open Camp Christian for the 2020 summer season.
For the past month, the Regional Staff, Camp Christian Committee, Regional Treasurer and Regional Moderator have been in prayer and discernment. We have all been meeting regularly to discuss and plan for the possibilities of camp this summer. In monitoring the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic and following the latest health and safety information from the Governor’s recommendations, we have determined that it simply will not be possible for us to safely or effectively open Camp Christian this summer.
A number of factors went into this decision, including the logistics of being able to purchase enough food, keeping camp clean, being able to have access to cleaning, safety, and medical supplies (so many of which are now being rightly prioritized by hospitals and medical centers), and enforcing safe social distancing practices for the youth and young people who would attend our summer programs. Above all, the health and safety of our campers has been our focus and our mission and with that in mind, we have decided to close Camp Christian for summer 2020.
To be clear, it is still the intention of the Ohio Region to have Camp next summer. This is not a permanent closure of Camp Christian. Although we will still need to do some fundraising and we may still need to adjust some of our logistics and health protocols between now and then, we will be working diligently this entire year to provide the safest and best camp season in 2021.
We are deeply saddened and grieving this loss. We know that many of us have been praying for a different outcome. We know that many of us have already suffered so many losses in the past couple of months, and to lose time at Camp too can feel unbearable to some. Please know that although we feel this is the right and responsible path forward, that does not mean that it is not a difficult and disheartening path forward as well.
In the coming weeks, the Directors and Officers of our various camps and conferences will meet virtually to begin discussions on alternative programming options we will be able to offer in the coming months. By the end of May, we will share with the Region what programming will be provided so that we may still find ways to fellowship together this summer. We cannot replace the green chair circles, the warm glow of the torch, or the ringing of the bell, but the Holy Spirit is still moving in Ohio and the billions of stars that we see in the night sky at Camp Christian are still shining.
We know that it has been difficult for many of us to hold on to hope in this strange season of our lives. Many of us are mourning now, and that is okay. Our God is with us in our grief. And when we are ready, God will move with us in hope and new possibility, finding ways forward through this camping season and the next. Ultimately, our God is a God of hope.
Our God of hope helped us receive over 450 RSVPs for our modified camp program when we set a goal of 400. Our God of hope helps us to imagine alternative programming opportunities that would have been impossible even 10 years ago. Our God of hope helps us to work together with Directors, Officers, Faculty, ADs, Counselors, and Staff to be able to connect with young people in contemporary and creative ways. Our God of hope helps us to know in our hearts that the mission of Building Beloved Community can never be cancelled or delayed, but springs forth like water from a rock in what feels like a desert season in our lives.
We are eternally grateful for your prayers and your passion for Camp Christian. Together we will move forward in healthy and faithful ways so that generations of people will continue to come to know the love of God through Christ at Camp.
If you have any concerns or questions, please reach out to Regional Program Director Rev. Alan Dicken at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love and Blessings,
Camp Christian Committee