Last week, Redeemer hosted our first week of Paul’s Place camp since the beginning of the pandemic. Approximately forty campers and five counselors from Paul’s Place; thirteen teenage counselors from Redeemer; three adult activity leaders; five intrepid adult kitchen helpers; one college camp director; Cristina; and I spent the week laughing, getting lost in the building, asking for more pizza, playing tag, saying thank you, talking, learning about our bodies, making art, reading, writing poetry, and dancing. It was fantastic!

This summer, our week’s theme was “Makers on the Move” (with a fantastic t-shirt designed by Perry Sovich!). The week started out with a trip to the Sankofa Children’s Museum of African Cultures on Monday, where we learned about the history, cultures, and geography of Africa. On Tuesday, back at Redeemer, the makers got to work. Each day campers went to different activities: Arts and Crafts, Creative Writing, Science, Physical Activity, Dance Practice, and Library. In Arts and Crafts they worked with Joan and Thomas to make paper bag puppets, worry dolls, and painted canvases with their own masterpieces. In Creative Writing, Cathy and Ben help them create their own super heroes with special powers (lasers and flying were there, but so were healing and empathy), back stories, and acrostic poems. In Science with Kate and Waverly, campers drew outlines of their bodies and filled them in, learning about ears, eyes, heart, lungs, and more.

And the campers weren’t just making – they were moving, too! Jay ran Physical Activity out on the front lawn – which made for excellent viewing from the church offices. The kids played all kinds of games, some of which led to water being dumped on their counselors! The Library, housed in the Chapel, provided a space for everyone to cool down – counselors read to their campers or supported them in independent reading. Finally, each team of counselors led their group in choreographing a dance for a competition on Friday. Competition was heated, but each team was awarded a certificate: for the most courageous, the most cooperative, the most community-oriented, and the most celebratory performance.

Courage, cooperation, community, and celebration were our themes for the week. At the beginning of each day, our wonderful storyteller, Tracy, would invite us into a story about the themes, encouraging all of us to embody them for the day. And camp requires all of them. It requires courage to step outside one’s comfort zone and try something new or meet new people. It takes cooperation to work as a team, whether your campers, counselors, or members of our kitchen crew. If we are oriented towards our community, we help grow it, taking care of each other. And what is camp without celebrating all the accomplishments of the week?! We celebrated our makers on the move on Friday with pizza for lunch, a tour of everyone’s art, creative writing, and science projects, and, of course, the dance performance.

None of this would have been possible without our volunteers and without the support of the Parish! Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who donated snacks, printed postcards, and made this week possible.

Love,
Rebecca

Counselors debriefing after a day at camp.

 

Campers listening to a story in morning meeting.

 

Members of the kitchen crew hard at work!

 

Lunch time!

So, what have you been doing this summer?  I’ve spent some recent time with family along the Mississippi Gulf Coast where the heat index wavered between 104 and 110 degrees F every single day.  Nevertheless, it was good to be together and to practice some new things I have been learning with my brother especially.  If your family is anything like mine, it is a great field for growing in real love or “non-possessive delight in the uniqueness of the other person.”  During our time together, I was given the opportunity to consider just how much of my thinking is spent in memories of the past or in imaginings of the future and how that kind of thinking does not allow me to live well here and enjoy NOW—the present moment.

At the end of the day, everything is energy and our thoughts carry energy just like our feelings.  We can allow our lives to become circumscribed by energetic vibrations that we really do not want to exist.  If there is one thing quantum scientists have shown us is that every cell in our bodies vibrate and long-term low-vibrational thinking adversely affects our physical bodies.

Being a biochemist in another life, I decided to take on an experiment to become the observer of my thoughts as they occur.  What I discovered kind of shocked me:  I spent way more time judging, labeling, and categorizing what I saw instead of simply experiencing life—without judging it or labeling it or somehow making it about me.  Whenever we are simply breathing in life as it is in the present moment, or (NOW as E. Tolle might say), we are available for love and joy to come rushing in to our experience of being alive.  I even discovered that being present and simply breathing brought a smile to my face.  How can thinking of no-thing cause me to smile?  I don’t know…it just did.

The 2nd half of the experiment was to learn to simply remain in a state of listening awareness—taking a pause so-to-speak— between thoughts.  Frankly, that worked out even better.  I felt less anxious, stressed, or frustrated in the airports especially!  So, it became possible to (gasp) enjoy myself no matter where I was, what was going on around me, or how someone else responded to me or failed to. I may not be able to do it all of the time, but at least I know that it is possible and can be done.

Now, that I’m back home, I feel like I am learning to enjoy living in the present moment without the need to interject low energy thoughts (what some call negative thinking) into the moment that simply IS.  Overall, it has been a pretty darn good summer.

Be Blessed…and consider just listening!

Love,

Freda Marie+

re·viv·al

/rəˈvīv(ə)l/

noun

  1. an improvement in the condition or strength of something
  1. a new production of an old play or similar work
  1. a reawakening of religious fervor, especially by means of a series of evangelistic meetings
  1. a restoration to bodily or mental vigor, to life or consciousness, or to sporting success

Imagine yourself standing in a huge hall in the Convention Center downtown with hundreds of other people, diverse in numerous ways (including age, race and sexual orientation), and from as far away as Latin America and the Caribbean, yet moving together as one, heads bopping up and down, hips swaying to a reggae-type sound, some with eyes closed.

You are singing ancient words in a new way. Your heart is pounding. Your spirit is soaring. You are energized by an electricity that is alive with purpose and meaning, yearning and hope.

And you are all there because somewhere, somehow, you’ve heard about a Truth Teller from Palestine who walked our planet Earth 2000 years ago; whose way of living and loving inspires you, here, in the 21st century, to dare to believe — despite anything and everything that rises up to challenge you, that breaks your heart, that keeps you up at night, that tempts you to despair — that our planet can heal. That our nation can heal. That our city can heal. That your loved one can heal. That you can heal.

That Revival is possible. Because nothing is impossible with God. “Without God, we cannot.” And/But: “Without us, God will not.

This is what I, along with several of us from Redeemer, experienced at the recent “Festival for the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement” held at The Baltimore Convention Center over the past few days. Our own Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached last Sunday night.

Below is the link to the video and transcript of his message. I commend it to you. And I invite you to imagine what it will it be like, and feel like, and look like … to be Revived.

https://www.episcopalchurch.org/publicaffairs/presiding-bishop-michael-curry-delivers-opening-sermon-at-its-all-about-love-festival/?wkey=Y3BhZ2xpbmF1YW5AcmVkZWVtZXJiYWx0aW1vcmUub3Jn&foreign_data=mailchimp_campaign_id%3A90e5f9a3bb

Love,
Cristina

 

Dear Folks,

“Children must have at least one person who believes in them. It could be a counselor, a teacher, a preacher, a friend. You never know when a little love, a little support will plant a small seed of hope,” writes Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of The Children’s Defense Fund.

I am happy to announce that Colleen Everett will be our Director of Children’s Ministries, beginning in the late summer. Colleen joins our team with the rich perspective of a current volunteer Sunday School teacher, a Parish Day School parent, and a professional in the Baltimore Public School system.

A native of Massachusetts, Colleen graduated from Elon University in 2008. While pursuing a degree in communications, Colleen volunteered for four years at the Latham Center, an independent school in Brewster which offers innovative treatments and support services for children with special needs. After college, she served with Habitat for Humanity in the Dominican Republic, and then as a development campaign associate for Project Bread, serving on a team that raised $4 million dollars to end hunger in Massachusetts. In 2009, Deloitte recruited her as a communications and outreach manager responsible for a Transportation Securities Administration contract.

In 2014 Colleen left consulting to pursue a passion for teaching, joining the New Teacher Project Academy of the Baltimore Public Schools. For the next seven years she taught at Hampden Elementary School, in the 1st, 4th, and 5th grades. Colleagues call her “one of the best!” She has served as a curriculum writer for the school district and as an early elementary tutor. As she joins us, Colleen will also teach two days a week in the Baltimore Schools Gifted and Talented Program. Please help me welcome Colleen to her new role.

If you have school-aged children in your care, or if you are feeling called to serve the youngest members of our community, please reach out to Colleen after August 15.

Marian Wright Edelman continues, “It is the responsibility of every adult — especially parents, educators, and religious leaders — to make sure that children hear what we have learned from the lessons of life, and to hear over and over that we love them and that they are not alone.”

Love,
David