“Four year old Annika wanted to do the zip line at the top of the climbing wall. We all watched in awe as this little girl scaled a huge wall to fulfill her dream. No one pointed out the times she was pulled by the rope instead of her own arms. No one told her to hurry up when she had to pause to find her brave. This group celebrated her first step and cheered each of her victories along the way. They affirmed her strength when she wasn’t sure she could go on. They patiently encouraged her when she felt stuck. And when she finally took that leap off the platform? They celebrated as much as if they had been the ones to achieve their dream. What a picture of community. This is what church can be. Our kids are often our teachers. They inspire us through what they do. They pull us to be our best selves as we watch them.”
~First All-Church Retreat, Genesis Covenant Church
As summer wraps up Retreat Season comes in full swing for us here at Covenant Pines Bible Camp. Retreat season brings a big variety of rental groups here to camp. From first time All-church Retreats like we just experience with Genesis Covenant Church, a year old church plant in the Twin Cities, to confirmation groups like Church of Epiphany a Catholic Church in Coon Rapids, Minnesota, and mid-week Sabbath Retreats for Pastors in the Covenant Conference. Each one different, all planned by God to be here and we couldn’t be more grateful and blessed to host them.
Eric Duffy, High School Youth Minister at The Church of the Epiphany, had this to say about his Confirmation Retreats at Covenant Pines Bible Camp.
“For many of us youth ministers, high school teens in our programs spend on average one hour a week in church. For even the slightly more engaged teen it may be an extra hour at most a week (not including school holidays and sports events). In a given school year, when you take out school holidays and everything, that is roughly only about 20 hours, give or take, where they spend time praying, or even just thinking about Jesus. At the Church of the Epiphany we have recognized that 20 hours in a given school year does not stack up against the multitude of hours spent elsewhere. So we have based all that we do around the amazing experience that is retreats. On a retreat, the average teen will spend more time, praying, thinking, and discussing their Faith and the eternity that they should seek then they will at everything else we do with them all year. Retreats, especially weekend retreats, are integral to the formation of Catholic Christians. The great multitude of things that come with the retreats, the planning, expenses, set up and teardown, make many Churches shy away from that type of commitment. Covenant Pines Bible Camp has made it affordable, fun, and easy for our volunteers and staff to spend a beautiful time away from the hectic city life and to truly center our hearts on Him.”
In this Retreat Season, as we enter into November, we deeply desire to express our thankfulness for this area of our ministry. Gratitude for those that have come and the honor it is to serve them. Thankfulness for all that God has planned for those that have already set this time aside to come to camp and for the continued plans He has to grow and expand this area of our ministry. Consider using Covenant Pines Ministries for your next retreat.
Whether it’s your small group spending a weekend in our new Lakeside Cabins at Silver Beach (pictured right), a group of students from your school or sports team coming up for a mid-week winter getaway, the leadership in your church retreating in White Pine to plan what God is bubbling up in your church, or an All-church Retreat this spring as a way build up your community in this beautiful place. We would love to have you here!
– Angie Sampson, Guest Services and Silver Beach Director