The coup in Burma last week was shocking and yet it was not surprising to those who have experienced the violence of the Burmese Army over the course of many years. All of our friends in the Karen/Chin/Burmese Community are here in the US because they were forced out of their homes in Burma by the Burmese government. For them, this past week has been traumatizing and grief filled. A member of our Karen Community in Vermont shared the attached letter which was written in the last week by a 21 year old woman. (Her photo is above.) The letter shares what life has been like in Burma. It contains disturbing images.
The Burmese people have begun protesting the Military occupation, demanding that their democratically elected officials be released from arrest and that their government be returned to power. At first the military was relatively restrained in its response, most likely because the eyes of the world are upon them. Yesterday live bullets were used against the peaceful protesters. We must keep attention on what is happening there.
As a church community, let us commit to holding Burma in our prayers and let us reach out to our elected officials asking them to continue their call for the restoration of the democratically elected government.
May God protect all those in danger.
Dear Church leaders,
The crises of 2020 have accelerated the need for churches to "future-fit" for our new world. You and your team need a planning retreat where you can craft a strategy to take your congregation into the future. Future Church Summit brings futurists and missional practitioners alongside your team to chart a course for the road ahead. This season has left us with many uncertainties. When can our churches safely gather? How do we live in both a virtual and a physical congregation? How can we stay engaged with our people? Yet, one thing we can be certain of - the future of our congregations doesn’t look like the past. The good news is that amidst this crisis, there is great opportunity. Join us for the Future Church Summit and plan a future-focused strategy for the coming year and beyond. Online February 26-27.
Friday Evening, 7pm
Better Days Ahead: A Thriving Mission in a Polarized, Post-Corona, Hyper-Connected World
Minefields and Goldmines:
What to Anticipate in the New World
Saturday Morning, 9am
The Plans I Have for You: Why Your Church's Destiny Lies in its History
Church has Left the Building:
Re-Vitalizing Congregations from the Outside-In
Saturday Afternoon, 12:50pm
A New Kind of Local Church: How Experimental Communities and Established Liturgies can Renew the Local Congregation
Reclaiming the Spirit: The Power to Become the Church of Tomorrow Today
If you are interested in attending, please contact Ron Bouthillette at firstname.lastname@example.org
LifeTree is sponsoring this event for ABCVNH and has purchased a team ticket,
For more information, see https://freshexpressionsus.org/futurechurchsummit
Hope you can join us,
Yours in Christ,
Associate Executive Minister of Discipleship and Evangelism (ABCVNH)
Dean of Lifetree School of Ministry
Camp Sentinel Winter News
Sentinel successfully operated 8 weeks of day camp in 2020, 14 weeks of Student Care this fall, safe and ALL Covid-free. We are excited to offer day and OVERNIGHT camp this summer.
STEADFAST 2021 VIDEO
Firm in belief. Determined. Firmly fixed in place. Immovable.
How do we apply the unchanging truth of God to a changing world? Camp provides a place where we can take unhurried moments to focus on the steadfast love of our unchanging God. At camp, we are reminded of how immovable God is through time in the quiet, gazing at the bright stars at night. Our faith deepens as we are reminded that steadfast love of the LORD never ceases…great is Thy faithfulness.
"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Camp Sentinel is located in the foothills of the Ossipee Mountain range in Center Tuftonboro, New Hampshire. Established in 1949, Sentinel offers fun, quality Christian overnight and day camp for youth, adults, and families. Sentinel also hosts year-round retreats for groups up to 200 guests. Daily activity options include swimming, boating, arts & crafts, team building games, ropes course with zip line, rock wall, archery, hiking, large group team sports, and so many more great adventures. Each evening the entire camp comes together and gathers for Vespers, a time of worship and Bible study.
For more information or to sign up https://www.campsentinel.org/programs
Our Health and Safety Guidelines. https://www.campsentinel.org/health-and-safety
Sentinel was open last summer safe and covid free. We were able to do this by following our health and safety guidelines. This summer cabin capacity for overnight camp will be limited, so it is important to sign up soon. Programs for everyone – from 5 to 105 years old!
This month’s highlight:
Little Adventures $200 for children 5-8 years old
This camp is the perfect way to introduce young campers to a Sentinel summer camp experience, with three days and two nights of exciting camp activities. For parents who would like to be on-site, check availability in our Pines Family Camping Area by calling the camp office.
Arrival: Sunday, June 27th 3pm; Departure: Tuesday June 29th 10am
For more information on our youth, adult and family programs. If you need more brochures mailed to you, please call us at (603) 539-4839 or email email@example.com.
Experience the stillness of 629 acres
Sentinel offers retreat experiences for individuals and groups up to 200 people (Spring, Summer & Fall) and up to 60 people (Winter) in our year-round rustic lodge. The Lodge has eight guest rooms sleeping up to 70 people in bunks and twin beds. We offer lodging and homemade food options for groups of 30 or more. For more information about retreats: https://www.campsentinel.org/retreats
Wixson Ministry Retreat
"Be Still" Did you know that Pastors (and families) may stay over at Sentinel for personal and family retreats? It is so important for our church leadership to take personal time to Be Still. Jesus teaches it and taking this time makes us stronger personally and spiritually. Sentinel is here to serve our churches! Check cabin availability through our Events Calendar. or Request More Information from our staff.
29 Sentinel Lodge Road, Center Tuftonboro, NH 03816
www.campsentinel.org (603) 539-4839
Where Relationships are Built and Lives are Changed
I recently heard a Michael McDonald song, “Taking It to the Street” and one of the soloists in the band spoke between refrains and said, "that is what Jesus wants us to do: take our joy to the streets.” In His earthly ministry Jesus spoke often about giving, but more importantly He demonstrated the act giving when He laid down His life sinners like me. Christ gave, so we should give.
Before the pandemic there were people in need, but since the pandemic that need has grown significantly, so we should give. Since November of 2020 I have been blessed to be able to hand out zip lock bags of blessings to those I see standing on street corners in the Seacoast Area asking for financial assistance. Rev. Dale Edwards and the ABC of Vermont/New Hampshire team donated funds to enable me to share “Blessings Bags” with those in need. Each zip lock bag contains a small New Testament, a tract about the love of Christ, a bandanna, a pair of cotton socks, small packet of kleenex, granola bar, a $10.00 Walmart gift certificate, three dollars in cash, and a smile. Recently a friend donated $300.00 to the cause enabling me to be able to hand out six $50.00 bills. Those around us are in need, so we give.
I hand out these bags to republicans, democrats, males, females, saints and sinners…. I hand out these bags to try and make an effort to show that God is love and in Him there is no darkness at all. I hand these bags out because my heart aches for those whose lives have been upended due to the loss of a job or the loss of their sense of self. I hand out these bags because, right now, that is all that I know to do… taking my joy and gratitude to the streets to share with strangers who stand in need. Thanks ABC VT/NH for shining your light in the streets of the seacoast.
As most of you know that my role is being with, connecting with, and listening a wide variety of people. In some ways my work has increased during the time of COVID. Pre-COVID expectations were that I would travel and meet with individuals, committees, and churches. Then at the height of COVID my commitments were solely virtual. Now the physically present expectations have returned, but many of the virtual expectations remain. As many local church pastors can attest to, now there are two sets of expectations, which I suspect will only grow and continue.
What is common, though, in my travels and contact is people have so much they wish to speak to, solve, rectify, and transform. Positive accounts run from the person who met Christ through virtual worship, and contacted the church, to expansions of ministries which care for those out of work, or homeless, cold or hungry. The negative accounts occur when the conversations turn to politics, racial reckoning, understanding history, and how to live out Jesus' words. Some conversations bind us in common cause, others trigger visceral reactions, that quickly crowd hate filled words.
I enjoy people. I enjoy being with people of all ages, races, classes, and nations. Two of our churches indulge my stumbling Spanish! Some people look a little askance at me when I speak of reading Catholic saints. Others wonder why on my bookshelves one can find John Calvin, Carl Henry, NT Wright, Tim Keller and then Anne Lamott, Soon-Chan Rah, Gustavo Gutierrez or Marvin McMickle’s latest book. As a disciple of Christ, I want to hear and see, so as to please Christ in all my interactions, knowing how limited and sinful I am.
This brings me to Jesus’ words in Matthew 15: "Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But things that come from the mouth come from the heart, and these make a person unclean. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” Jesus warns me about the things that stir in my heart and come out of my mouth! When I just want to speak and force my opinion on another person or group, is my heart really right with Christ? Or do I give the mean spirited things that come out of mouth a spiritual spin to justify their hatefulness or slander?
I realize I often open myself to charges of being naïve, when I attempt to check my heart before I wind up and respond. And I concede I have more defeats than victories. And even when my mouth doesn’t open, I am appalled at the depraved pinballs that rattle about in my mind. But is it really too naïve to ask, is my heart bowed enough before my Lord and Savior so I do not hate anyone or wish to cause them pain or harm, or is this simply being a Christian?
Read what's happening all around the Region!