You are invited to join us for a very exciting day at Covenant Pines Bible Camp! After years of dreaming, fundraising and construction – our new Worship Center will be ready to use in Summer of 2024! We are looking forward to this day of celebration with the Covenant Pines community as we take the time to honor and dedicate the building to God.
Here are the details for the Worship Center Dedication:
Saturday April 20, 2024
10:00 am – 3:00 pm at Covenant Pines Bible Camp
10:00 am: Arrive
11:00 am: Dedication Ceremony in the New Worship Center
1:15: Free Time around Camp
If you plan to attend, please fill out this RSVP form.
If you have questions, please email Holly.
We hope to see you in April to celebrate this special day in Covenant Pines history!
Though summer is often our busiest time of year, ministry still continues as we transition into our retreat season. And this past September, we had one of the busiest transitions yet. Starting after Labor Day, Covenant Pines had mid week groups at camp each week through the first week of October, including 3 school groups on school retreats.
It has been exciting to see these school groups utilize camp as a way to create memories and build relationships for their students. It is also exciting to see these new partnerships emerge with these schools and continue to create experiences for students in the retreat season. We were delighted to have Hope Academy, Lakeview Christian Academy and Minnehaha Academy join us this fall. This is in addition to the day retreats we have been hosting for the McGregor Schools BARR program!
We also were fortunate to have the Covenant Retired In Ministry Retreat as well as our first ever Pickleball Retreat as midweek groups in September. Adventurous Christians led a half day of leadership experiences at Stella Marais School in Duluth in September as well.
Between Covenant Pines Bible Camp and Adventurous Christians, CPM served nearly 1400 guests and served close to 7000 meals so far this fall. That is just about how many campers Covenant Pines would serve in one summer! Our staff is tired, but fulfilled! It is great to see churches, colleges and school groups use camp as a way to further their ministries’ mission, and to see their organizations thriving with robust attendance at their retreats.
Our retreat season is off to a busy start and will continue to be so! It feels great to have a flourishing retreat ministry. Today we welcome over 100 high school students and 25 leaders for our Sr. High MEA Retreat at Covenant Pines and we just wrapped up a staff retreat for Lake Beauty Bible Camp at AC, with a guest group arriving tonight as well. Keep Covenant Pines Ministries in your prayers as you remember!
At the end of each of our canoe trips at Adventurous Christians, participants fill out what we call a “Summer Trip Reflections” form. Participants are asked to rate certain parts of their experience and are then asked a series of reflective questions. While looking through these trip reflections, whether it was from a 7th grader or a woman in her mid-50s, I noticed an overwhelming theme: “I didn’t think that I could do it, but I did. I can do hard things.”
When discussing promoting and marketing canoe trips at Adventurous Christians, we really do try to help people understand what they are signing up for. A week on trail through the Boundary Waters, though beautiful, is challenging. Each day our canoe groups are faced with making sure their needs are met – eating, sleeping, getting from one place to another…often at the mercy of the weather while carrying packs and portaging canoes. Sometimes after a long day of paddling and portaging, cooking a meal in the rain is the last thing you want to do – but, you have to do it.
These moments are difficult, but they are transformational. One student wrote on their trip reflection, “I learned on my canoe trip that I am able to have fun while also doing really hard things. I learned to stay positive and have fun with my friends, even if I was uncomfortable.” Reflections like this bring us so much joy. Moments on trail are hard, but the attitude participants choose is key.
This year we offered a canoe trip for adult women. The group was a mixed group of ladies ranging in ages and backgrounds. One trip reflection read, “I learned that I can still do challenging things, even at my age. It may take longer, but it still gets done!” Again, another reflection that encompasses our hope for our canoers. Rising to the challenge, even while accepting limitations is also key in the success of a canoe trip.
Finally, a high school student shared on their reflection,
“What really stuck out to me was how similar this trip was with devotion to God. It’s hard at first, but if you keep at it consistently, it will get so much easier.”
Can we get an AMEN?!
We are so proud of all of our canoe trip participants this summer for conquering the challenges of their trip and learning about themselves and God along the way.
Our mission at Covenant Pines Ministries is to encourage campers to take their Next Step in Christian faith. We focus on this mission all year round, but during our summer ministry season we have the privilege of operating all four of our ministry centers; serving students, families and individuals at Covenant Pines Bible Camp, Adventurous Christians, Silver Beach Family Camp and Covenant Pines Off Site. After each summer of ministry, we like to share stories about how campers around CPM have taken next steps.
Covenant Pines Bible Camp: Campers at CPBC make commitments each week to dedicate their life to Jesus, make a change back home, start going back to youth group and more. This is truly the heartbeat of the summer and why we do what we do. One story that sticks out from this summer is from a high school camper who spent time at camp as a SWEAT. After this camper returned home, we were notified that this high schooler had made a personal donation to the Next Steps Campaign. We were so encouraged by this tangible next step of tithing by this camper!
Adventurous Christians: At AC, the challenge of a week on trail really helps people reflect on what their next steps are. This summer, one student while on trail felt particularly inspired by the leadership development on trail as well as the satisfaction of completing a canoe trip. In this student’s trip reflection he mentioned that one day he hopes to be a guide at AC to help provide this experience to others. We love to see next steps like this!
Silver Beach Family Camp: One of the best things about Silver Beach Family Camp is the community that is created over years and years. These families see each other every year and get to know each other, watch each other’s children grow up and families evolve. One Silver Beacher commented on the way Silver Beachers come back to each other every year and share stories of faith, and how they are able to encourage each other in their own walks with God.
Covenant Pines Off Site: One of the biggest and highly anticipated Off Site events each summer is our Covenant Pines Golf Tournament. The tournament is a fundraiser to raise money for camper scholarships. This year, we had a record breaking year for sponsorship. It was so cool to see businesses and individuals take their own next step in faith and generosity by sponsoring the event. Because of this, we were able to raise $16,000 for our camper scholarship fund – allowing campers to continue to take a next step in Christian faith.
These are just a few of the ways campers have taken next steps around Covenant Pines Ministries this summer. As we conclude another full summer of ministry, we look forward to continuing our mission as we transition into retreat season.
Earlier this week, our full time staff gathered for a zoom meeting. During the retreat season, we do these weekly but in the busyness of summer we try to do them once a month. We started our meeting by sharing ways that we have seen God working this summer and there was a resounding theme across our ministry: Community.
Community is at the core of most camps. At CPM, we see this emerge in the temporary communities that are established for one week of youth camp, Silver Beach, or on a canoe trip; the summer staff community that intentionally exists; or the full time staff who have committed to living a life in community together. But in our meeting this morning, it was apparent that the community of Covenant Pines Ministries reaches beyond what would typically come to mind when you think of “camp community.”
At Adventurous Christians, there is another Wilderness Camp off the Gunflint Trail, and our staff has gotten to know their staff quite well over the years. At the beginning of this summer, when both camps were out on their staff training trip, the two groups crossed paths. Mind you, this was not planned and truthfully shouldn’t have even happened given the routes both groups were taking. This short exchange allowed for some shared laughs, but also an opportunity for our staff to care for some of theirs in a time of need. The timing lined up perfectly enough to care for our friends when some of them really needed it.
Earlier this summer, there was a camper at Covenant Pines who needed a little more one-on-one attention then your typical camper. This happens from time to time, and we do our best to provide that attention when needed. This camper had a desire to still participate at camp, to feel a part of this unique community that is created each week, but also knew she had limitations. Her counselor was attentive, thoughtful and caring for this camper (all while also lifeguarding) to make camp a place where she felt comfortable to participate.
Every first day of camp is a little chaotic, including at the Bus Stop at Salem Covenant Church. We load all the campers on the bus making sure everyone is accounted for, pack the trailers and answer any questions about the week of camp ahead. Once the buses leave, there is a communal exhale as the campers make their way to camp. Some parents choose to stick around and share their excitement for their campers with each other, pray together, and make plans to hear about their campers weeks when they get back. The parents who send their children to camp are creating their own little community themselves, making the impact of the week of camp grow farther.
These stories share the ways that the community of Covenant Pines Ministries reaches beyond our campers each week. Stories were also shared about the personal community staff are finding, volunteers who are coming up and contributing to and bringing life to our community, and the growth we are observing within the people we are serving alongside. It is a humbling reminder that we are all apart of something bigger. A bigger story, and an even bigger community in God’s family.