As our lives have changed over the past few months, Kathleen Blackey shares one way that she has continued to connect with God and love her neighbors through her baking.
Three years ago I found myself captivated by beautiful loaves of bread that I stumbled upon on Instagram. I had a baby who required my attention all day long. She was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy, and the medication to keep the seizures from happening had some challenging side effects. I spent most of my days holding this precious little girl, and my phone was my window to the outside world. I’m not sure how I stumbled on these bread pictures, but I remember showing pictures to a friend saying, “This is what I want to do.” It took about a year to figure out what that meant and how to accomplish this goal with my already full life.
Two years ago I began a sourdough starter with a friend. I named my starter, Arti, short for “artos,” which means bread in Greek. I did this before it was the popular “stay home, stay safe” activity. I began offering trades for a loaf. I’ve traded loaves for local eggs, plants, and babysitting. A few months in I was baking two loaves one afternoon, and it hit me that I really didn’t need a second loaf. I messaged a neighbor who had recently gone through a traumatic loss asking her if she wanted it. My response to all that’s hard in this world is to give away bread, not because it will erase all that is hard, but to let people know that someone cares about them. If I can show people that they are loved with a simple loaf of bread, I’ve accomplished what I’ve set out to do.
This began something that I was not expecting. I began giving bread away. I realized the more that I gave it away, the more it was becoming a spiritual discipline. “God, who will get this loaf?” And while I’m a pastor who bakes bread, it’s really more of a personal thing that bleeds its way into my ministry. Sometimes I get my kids in on it - we call it a “spy kids mission” and they’ll sneak a loaf in someone’s car at church or while we’re out and about. Sometimes I let them decide who will get a loaf.
My family has become my biggest support in my desire to bake more sourdough bread. They eat my bread and share in my joy of baking. We’ve had many adventures including learning how to bake bread with coals and a camp dutch oven with legs, so I can bake whenever we go camping together. Their one rule is that I can’t bring Arti with me on a plane, but I have been known to bring a few loaves with me!
I found myself buying more and more flour and giving more and more bread away. I’ve come out of my comfort zone bringing bread to neighbors I don’t know. I make meals for families who welcome new babies with a loaf or two. Teachers get loaves. Last fall one of my friends in talking with the school nurse asked if I could bake for the school backpack program - a way to get food to families over the weekend. I got a beautiful opportunity to help out these families with something that I loved to do, and so many people have supported me along my journey. I had developed a weekly rhythm of building up my starter on Wednesdays, baking on Thursdays, and delivering on Fridays as I brought my daughter, who is no longer a baby but still needs support, to school for her special help.
Then suddenly with all that has been happening with the virus, we decided to stop offering bread in the backpack program. The families are still receiving food, but with so many unknowns, we decided this break was best. Baking has looked a lot different recently. I send texts to people God has placed on my mind asking them if they want bread. I usually receive a quick response. I leave the bread in a garage or entryway while wearing a mask. I baked a few loaves the other weekend, and left them on a table set out on my front porch. I invited Facebook and Instagram friends to make trades. I received fiddleheads, homemade bread, maple syrup, prosciutto from a local butcher, and a couple Peace Teas. The great part was the opportunity for social interaction from those who dropped off these things. With a table on the porch, they could pick up a loaf, drop off their item, and we could talk while keeping our distance.
I’m not sure what God has in store for my bread baking, but I know that it’s been a way for me to connect with God and a way for me to love my neighbors.
If you want to follow some of Kathleen’s sourdough adventures, you can find her @fellowshipbread on Instagram.
“And the Church must be forever building
And always decaying,
And always being restored.” (T.S. Eliot, “The Rock”)
Congregations go through predictable stages in their history. There is a dynamic birth stage as a new congregation is planted. Then there are later seasons in which a congregation is at a point of vital growth and flourishing. Some aspects of ministry flow more easily in those seasons, as often attendance and giving are increasing. But eventually a congregation arrives at a plateau where growth slows and a congregation finds a rhythm and stability. After a plateau another season of growth can occur, but more often a period of decline appears. At those points of decline the congregation needs to be helped back toward vitality. This course examines both the reasons for decline and malaise in congregations, and what solutions are possible to get those congregations back to flourishing. To help a complex organization like a local congregation come back toward a place of flourishing comprises many different disciplines. There is a whole organic system to engage and seek to restore. The reasons for decline are complex and so are the reasons for growth. A growing field of literature is devoted to this place in the life of a congregation. Leadership skills are especially important in this aspect of revitalizing a congregation.
This course is offered in partnership with Lifetree, TABCOM School of Ministry and Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. It will meet 6-9pm Friday night, and 9am-5pm Saturday on September 25th-26th and November 6th-7th, 2020.
Certainty in uncertain times
Greetings Sentinel Friends,
We are looking forward to the upcoming camp season in the fresh air and spreading out on Sentinel's 629 acres and a mile of water frontage. We have health and safety protocols in place as we prepare for your arrival this summer. Click here for more information and a video message.
Swimming with new friends in the crystal clear refreshing waters of Dan Hole Pond, enjoying the spectacular views from the Ledges hike, challenging yourself on our team building ropes course, relishing well balanced home cooked meals in the Lodge dining hall, and simply appreciating the warm and distinct smell of the campfire with friends. These experiences and other life-long memories await you this summer at Camp Sentinel.
Essential things to do before coming to camp: All forms may be downloaded here
Please note check-in and pick-up times in the summer program brochure. Boys and Girls overnight camp check-in is on Sundays at 3pm with a closing ceremony/pick up on Saturdays at 10am.
Camp Sentinel 2020
2020 Walk in Confidence
Words like “be not afraid” and “fear not” occur over 300 times in the Bible. There are many things to distract us in life, causing fear in our lives. When we come face to face with fear, trusting God’s presence, promises, provision and power, we are then able to walk in confidence.
Summer Camp programs
Little Adventures: June 28th - 30th
Boys & Girls Session 1: July 5th - July 11th
Boys & Girls Session 2: July 12th - July 18th
Boys & Girls Session 3: July 19th - July 25th
Boys & Girls Session 4: July 26th - Aug 1st
Teen Camp: Aug 9th - Aug 14th
View full program offerings
Friday Evening Red Carpet Banquet!
Friday evenings are a time of celebration when we remember all the great things about the week. Each Friday evening, we dress up and walk down the red carpet enjoying good food and great fun!
We look forward to seeing you this summer!
In His Service,
Rev. Kevin Van Brunt “Pk”
29 Sentinel Lodge Rd.
Center Tuftonboro, NH 03816
More about Sentinel
Camp Sentinel is located in the foothills of the Ossipee Mountain range in Tuftonboro, New Hampshire. Established in 1949, Sentinel offers fun, quality Christian overnight and day camp for youth, adults and families. Sentinel hosts year-round rustic retreats for groups up to 200 guests (55 in the winter). Sentinel's group experiences are known for its home cooked meals, attention to detail and Christian hospitality. Amenities include: 5 unique hiking trails, 5 element ropes course with zip line, giant swing, 25-foot-tall rock-climbing wall, large field, archery range, chapel for up to 200 guests, and more. The camp provides solitude on its 600+ acres and over a mile of water frontage on crystal clear Dan Hole Pond.
Sentinel employs 40 summer staff from over 25 area churches. Staff either grow-up through our program or come with fresh new ideas to strengthen the program. Staff are background and reference checked and attend staff training. Our staff retention rate is high. When staff serve for a summer, they want to come back.
What the Staff Say
MEET THE STAFF
“Often people ask me, how could you "give up" your summer to work at camp for 9 weeks, and I suppose that could be a valid question. I guess it's because camp is my home away from home, where my second family is. I get to spend my summer not only with amazing people but in a bubble that protects against all the world throws at me. I wake up to constant love, fun and smiles and most importantly my summer is devoted to helping kids find their relationship with Christ. Life outside camp is just so boring in comparison. Simply put I would miss it” –Summer Staff
We ask for your prayers and support as we embrace the past and invest in the future!
Your tax-deductible donation to Camp Sentinel makes a difference in the lives of many! Thank you for your prayers and support. This ministry would not be possible without the financial gifts and hard work of many of our Camp Sentinel family.
Help send a youth to camp when you shop with Amazon Smile.
.5% of your purchase to go to Camp Sentinel’s scholarship campaign. There is no cost to you and you still pay the same price for items on Amazon. Amazon makes the donation above and beyond your purchase. Simply click logo above, select Sentinel as the charity and shop as usual. Thank you for your support in helping children have a life changing Christian camp experience!
Pines Camping Area:
The Pines offers a relaxing camping experience for individuals, families and groups on 33 beautiful sites. Enjoy spending your day on crystal clear Dan Hole Pond, hiking one of our five hiking trails or simply relaxing in a hammock by the campfire. Water and electric sites are available. Weekly summer praise and worship services Sunday at 9:30am in July and August.
When the pandemic recedes, the questions we now struggle with will face the test of a new reality. Much will be familiar, some things will have marginally changed, and there could be a whole world of change. A prevailing question is, “Is Jesus preparing us for a new future ministry and mission? I venture to say that the initial evidence is a resounding yes, and God is preparing us for something new that we haven’t quite grasped. While part of us remains anchored in the inherited church, another part will press into a new movement and a refreshed mission.
I am reminded of a “change story” my dad sometimes referenced in regards to returning home from World War II. As a young man he, along with his father, was working on a large dairy farm. Not long out of high school, my dad was drafted into the army during World War II. From 1942 until 1946 he never returned home. When he returned home, he went back to work with my grandfather on the dairy farm. One of the lasting memories of change that impacted my dad, was my grandfather no longer worked as a teamster, because during the war tractors had replaced horses. The horse barn was empty, and now my grandfather worked as a herdsman, glad for employment, but grieving the loss of draft horses. As my dad would joke, tractors were a lot more convenient, but didn’t respond well to voice commands. My grandfather never really reconciled himself to the absence of horses. He remained a reluctant driver of vehicles all of his life.
In John 21, the first couple of paragraphs speak of seven disciples returning home. After leaving the fear and hiding in locked rooms, they returned home. I suspect as they looked at the Sea of Galilee, Peter resumed his role as fishing captain and led the other six out to sea for a night of fishing. I wonder if they had returned home expecting everything to be the same. Fishing was what they knew best. Jesus had risen from the dead, dispelled their fear. The new chapter had closed on a glorious note, and now it was time to return to fishing. I wonder what mix of motivations the disciples possessed. Economic necessity? A known and comfortable routine? Defaulting to old habits, because they didn’t know what else to do? It was returning home to the almost familiar, until it becomes a fishless night. It is the voice of Jesus from the beach, the Kol Yahweh, the Word become flesh once again, who commands the practical, which results in 156 fish. The disciples eat the breakfast in silence He prepared. “I am the bread of Life” prepares food for seven hungry men.
The home the disciples returned to wasn’t the same after all. The sea was still there, but they couldn’t fish again, at least not in the same fashion. Jesus continued to reset their lives, asked for love and obedience, and I suspect instructed the disciples to return to Jerusalem. Going home wasn’t bad, but it missed the point, and home couldn’t really be home again.
The big questions hanging in the air in every broader churchy circle I listen into is: “How will the pandemic change the church, the mission, the vision, the community?” As one barb worded it: “This will really shake up the corporate-ecclesiastical establishment.” Those big questions are not yet answered. We might need to resist the temptation to return entirely to home, but wait, and pray, and be reformed by the Holy Spirit. I really look forward to walking through the big questions with you, and receiving from our Lord, grace upon grace, as onward we navigate. I pray that I can rediscover that my only true home is in Christ, where in silence I can eat and listen.
There are numerous conversations and questions concerning whether or not the CARES Act will benefit pastors and churches. Please remember that the legislation is contained in a 900+ page document. After several webinars, conference calls, and many conversations, I will attempt to give you my best understanding and thoughts.
At this point I would encourage you to enter the process if needed, but please remember we do not know how this legislation will be applied and interpreted in relation to churches.
In Jesus name, Dale
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