I have just returned from the Connecticut Conference's third offering of Clergy Camp. It was a great experience of gathering with colleagues not only from Connecticut but also, for the first time, from the Massachusetts Conference.
This idea for clergy to "come to camp" was birthed on a cold and snowy February day on Facebook (you know it's 2016 when you write that!). Liz Miller, pastor of the Congregational Church in South Glastonbury, who is now departing for a call in the Michigan Conference, has been the primary leader of Clergy Camp and has left her mark on the culture of this gathering.
I'm grateful for Liz's leadership. She will be missed at Clergy Camp. I'm grateful for the staff of Silver Lake who made us all feel welcome, cared for and provided for. More than once at dinner I heard colleagues say how nice it was to have dinner cooked for us and how great it was not to have to worry about it. Small things make a difference!
At the end of Clergy Camp we always invite the gathered to say what they are taking away. Some of what I heard: "It's good to connect with colleagues." "It's great to be at Silver Lake and to reconnect with nature." "I can't believe how much fun this was." "We need to remember we are not alone."
Those Conference staff members who were at Clergy Camp had the good fortune of being a part of this time of community building. One participant said, "Seeing the Conference staff having fun, and not because my church is in trouble, was great!"
Erick Olsen, pastor of the Church of Christ, Congregational, in Norfolk and a member of the Silver Lake Board, will now carry the mantle of leadership for next year, along with some others who have participated in Clergy Camp.
Just a quick pause to celebrate one of the amazing good things that happens in the Connecticut Conference!
Blessings this day,
Rev. Kent Siladi is the Director of Philanthropy for the National Office of the United Church of Christ.