It Only Takes a Spark…..To Get the United Methodist Flame Going!
By: Rev. Elizabeth Coppedge-Henley
I am still in a post Annual Conference haze. Our yearly meeting was busy time. It was a productive time. It was a meaningful time. We have come away from Lake Junaluska some of us pleased with how things turned out and some of us not so pleased. We come away, all of us, returning to our places of ministry and committed to making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. But beyond the elections and beyond the legislation, I find myself grateful for the connection of relationships: decades-old friendships, new friendships and particularly grateful for ALL of our common life as ministers of the Gospel.
Following Annual Conference, I joined the throng of cars on I-40 and I-26. I had a stop on the way home. I took our daughter at Camp Tekoa. Between my two children we have been blessed by the ministry of Camp Tekoa for at least 13 years – beginning with its summer day camp when we lived nearby. This year there was a particular connection made with friends and colleagues. The Camp Tekoa Offering this summer is going to the Sharing House in Brevard, NC. Rev. Shelly Webb, Executive Director of the Sharing House Ministry and Rev. James Johnson, Executive Director of Camp Tekoa, are collaborating on a project that not only helps a significant, local ministry, but also teaches our children how important it is to give to others. All of this, because of friendships and connections made long ago.
I asked James about Camp Tekoa’s efforts to teach campers about caring for neighbors in need. He said that Camp Tekoa started this offering several years ago. The idea belonged to the camp’s Assistant Director John Isley. Campers have raised almost $25,000 for the ministries of Haywood Street UMC in Asheville, Camp Op/Blue Tent (Tekoa’s camp that hosts children in the NC Foster Care System), Stop Hunger Now, and this year for the Sharing House in Brevard. I love it! Our children are having a fun at camp AND learning that discipleship, while fun, also means that we are to care for others because Jesus cares for others.
This is one way we get the connection right. This is one of the things that connects us, still. Our commitment to Christ, our Wesleyan Heritage, and our Baptismal vows, call on us to bring up our children in faith AND to care for those living in poverty. This year, as in years past, Camp Tekoa is helping all of us to do so. This connection is strong. Thanks be to God!
Now on to Vacation Bible School…