"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." James 4:8
In the last moments of camp this summer, I shared time with the day campers on the stage. It was one young camper’s birthday; we were celebrating with homemade chocolate cupcakes. With chocolate all over our faces, I asked one young 5-year-old boy: "Do I have chocolate on my face?" He held out HIS thumb to wipe MY face. Surprised by his gesture, I smiled and said, "Thank you, but I can get the chocolate off my own face." We laughed and I let out a deep breath. 3 summer camp seasons and no Covid at camp. Praise Elohim Shomri
Simple moments at camp are special. Campers enjoying nature in the fresh mountain air, making new friends around the campfire, relationship building activities like archery, zip line, rock wall, paddling around the crystal clear waters of Dan Hole and quiet time in Morning Watch all lead to engaging with each other and drawing deeper to God through relationship.
God doesn’t speak any louder in the outdoors, it is just easier to hear God. The stillness at Sentinel helps us hear God more clearly.
Our theme this year was “Engage” with 625 campers coming to the grounds. 1 Peter 3:15 shares important teaching: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15. Revere Christ. Equip ourselves. Remember Hope. Show gentleness. Practice respect for ourselves and others.
Thank you for standing with us in mission. Your generous mission support helps build relationships and change lives. We believe camp is for everyone, that is why we never turn a child or family away from camp for financial challenges. On Sunday September 25th we will have a special day to come together to raise funds for families in need of scholarships. For more information please visit www.campsentinel.org/hope
"Harvesting Hope" on Sunday, September 25* here at Camp Sentinel. With an optional Saturday overnight, followed by a full day of programming on Sunday, this unique experience is our way of saying "thanks" for a great summer. Programming includes: silent auction, live music, carnival activities, scavenger hunt, and more (schedule found on website). We invite our partners in ministry to join us for this unique experience as we seek to further enhance and extend the reach of the scholarship fund through donations from the event.
See you soon on the mountaintop,
Kevin Van Brunt “Pk”
Executive Director, Camp Sentinel
More About Sentinel...
We are actively planning for the 2023 camp season. The theme has been chosen, staff are being hired. Registration begins October 1st. More soon!
VOICE - Your feedback is important to us. We'd like to hear more about your camper's experience this summer. Please consider this brief survey. It's a quick and easy way to help benefit camp as we look to keep doing what we do well, and sharpen areas that need to be addressed.
Winter Camp is January 20th - 22nd. Sign ups are open.
Experience the stillness of 629 acres
Sentinel offers retreat experiences for individuals and groups up to 200 people (Spring, Summer & Fall) and up to 70 guests (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 (open year round)
"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.
Pines Camping Area: Memorial Day Weekend until Columbus Day
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. July and August summer worship services Sunday at 9:30am.
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 select Sentinel as the charity and shop as usual. Thank you for your support in helping children have a life changing Christian camp experience!
The purpose of Camp Sentinel is to create a welcoming environment for Christian relationship building and spiritual renewal. Within the stillness of God’s creation and through the guidance of the staff, people are moved from discovery into authentic relationships with others and with Jesus Christ.
29 Sentinel Lodge Road,
Center Tuftonboro, NH 03816
I am reminded of my old friend George Bullard’s description of a healthy, wholistic church. George would describe a healthy church as having “good Gospel, good faith, good community, and good works.” I would even say such is true of a regional ministry or a denominational ministry. But in the brittle times we live in individuals and churches choose which one or two of the four sides of the prism they will choose to engage and live out. It is what I have begun to call the “cut and paste hermeneutic”. We accept from Christ’s life and instruction, what we find most comfortable to receive, and place aside that which does not or does meet our word view.
Some set aside Jesus words, “I am the way, the truth, and life, no one comes to the Father but by me.” All of Jesus’ “I AM” statements challenge us to proclamation, and faith. Some set aside, “I was hungry and you didn’t feed me, naked you didn’t cloth me, in prison you didn’t visit me, and a stranger and you didn’t welcome me in.” “What you have done for the least of these, you have done it to me.” And maybe we wrestle with Jesus’ proclamation of the Kingdom of God being near and that the Kingdom of God is upon us, because to welcome the reign of Christ calls us to a greater identity, joy, and accountability then we could ever create for ourselves in this world or the next.
In our fallen and limited humanity, we purposely choose to, or drift into a “cut and paste hermeneutic”. I wonder if we cut and paste Jesus, because to aspire to live fully as a citizen of Christ’s Kingdom, we must inevitably accept Christ’s authority in our lives and churches, when our nature and our culture, idolizes individual autonomy. We are tempted to search for the Christ who is compliant with our thoughts, preconceptions, and ideology, rather than kneel before Christ as Lord of all humanity and creation. We struggle to bring every thought captive but find it convenient to allow our thoughts to simmer in their own autonomous juices, eating the apple over and over again. As Leonard Sweet aptly points out in one of his older books, only Christ is the true North Star.
The challenge in an information saturated age, where media caters to its “customer base” is to answer the question, who and what is forming Christ’s church and the souls that compose this church? I propose the antidote is the timeless, classic journey of discipleship and spiritual formation. Can anyone in the institutional church, what some call the “visible church” really argue with that? From this journey, attempting to live out our imperfect best, the future is really about having no cause but Christ, and the welcoming of his transforming presence for individual, church, and culture.
As a Christian, I have come to believe that a foundational principle is to live for the sake of others, as Christ died and rose for me. There is the timely timeless Christian ethic of disadvantaging oneself for the sake of others. I am reminded of this when I see the sacrificial lives of pastors, spouses, and even families. When I read the histories of reformers and evangelists, missionaries and saints, Christian leaders of all walks, there is a common thread of having no cause but Christ. In Luke 10, when Jesus speaks about the Kingdom of God being near, he references both the blessing and the rejection of its nearness. There are people of peace who receive the Good News, the reign of Christ, and those who reject and send the 72 away. One of the challenges that face the American church is recognizing our selective rejections and acceptances. We are seduced into approaching Jesus like we do the Golden Corral.
Occasionally, I have been accused of being an ecclesiastical idealist, and maybe I am. I confess I lack patience with dawdling bureaucracy and institutional inertia, yet I believe any ministry can only be of “good gospel, good faith, good community and good works” by desiring, and knowing the fullness of Christ. Embracing this fullness, the widening of tunnel visions, the accepting all of who Jesus is, is the future’s pathway, as it has always been since the day He rose. I keep praying that Christ continues to form our historic association of churches. I trust Christ’s Spirit will make us passionate, compassionate, and faithful.
In Jesus name,
Just a few weekends ago the church I serve hosted a Ladies Tea. To my knowledge we have never had one before. Honestly, I had never been to one before. We did not have an agenda. We had time to fellowship. It was mostly an excuse to gather together. Over the past two years we haven’t done that enough. We wanted to keep those most vulnerable in our community healthy, so we loved our neighbors by limiting our gathering. But we missed it so much.
Now we are learning how to be a church family all over again. It starts slowly, like with a Ladies Tea, but steadily we can grow together into something beautiful for Jesus. It will most likely look different from what we had before, but we can be a light for Jesus nonetheless.
I’ve spoken with other Christians who have shared similar experiences of trying to figure out how to be a church after all that has happened these past two years. I hear nervous voices as we enter unfamiliar territory; however, it’s a great opportunity to reflect and get creative in how we share the love of Jesus in our communities.
Here are three ways that we can move forward in being the church in our communities:
Want more resources to get a jump start on creativity in your church? Our friends at Fresh Expressions just had their Gathering, and they’ve collected their best stuff, which can be purchased here.
Church buildings in New England are closing. About 10 years ago, one study of New England churches predicted over 1,000 church buildings would be closed within a decade. Of course, this prediction was made long before anyone thought of COVID. Under Vermont and New Hampshire statutes, when a church votes to dissolve or abandons its property and assets, these revert to the ownership of the founding denomination. ABC-VNH have received several properties over the last ten years. Sometimes properties are in such condition, our only option is to sell. On other occasions we receive a property, which can be used for worship and the re-planting of a Christian community.
Last year, we were notified by the NH Attorney General’s office that we had received ownership of the Dorchester Community Church building. Two remaining members turned over the keys to the ABC-VNH office. As of this last Easter Sunday, we rejoice that Roger and Betsy Wotton unlocked the doors, having placed some signage about the community, welcomed 19 people to worship! The enthusiasm was such, that an initial plan is to hold worship in this church building once a month, while Roger and Betsy continue to grow a “dinner church” in the wider community. Our gratitude to Roger and Betsy for accepting this new mission in a community of only 400 people. We ask God to bless this new ministry, and anticipate the Holy Spirit is already at work in a small village. Please pray for this new ministry.
Below are pictures of Easter Sunday Worship!
United Church of Warner hosted an Easter event last month. They referred to the event as “Easter Jam – Trunk-or-Treat with an Easter Twist.” They had various stations with candy and small toys (many contained within plastic Easter eggs), a craft table where kids could make a set of bunny ears, free raffles and the Easter Bunny. They were blessed to have 55 children attend the event.
Their hope is that as we have these sort of events, over time they can become more closely connected with the community. Their goal is to use these events to slowly get to know more people, and ideally, over a number of years, help some people to become more open to church and exploring Jesus.
Read what's happening all around the Region!