Friday, December 18, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder 12/13-19

Rain slowed down at camp this week, and we watched the waters recede enough that even the smallest sedan could pass Old Pacific Highway and get to Highway 101. That doesn't mean it didn't rain at all--we still got plenty of rain. For now, though, it feels like the worst is behind us. That said, we got enough rain Thursday night to re-flood a few of our flooded areas. Crazy rain like this is enough to make you paranoid every time you see it return to the forecast. It makes you wonder if this place will ever get back to normal again, though you know people throughout history have wondered the same thing.

As the route to camp opened up, staff members who live offsite were able to return and start the clean-up process. For most of Monday morning, Tommie and Mark worked on the fallen Spruce that took power lines out last week. You could hear the chainsaws and the wood splitter for most of the day at the office. Walking the main road later that day, all that was left of the fallen tree was the mangled stump and piles of sawdust spread out next to the road. There was a strong evergreen scent in the air that made me want to breathe deeper and hold it a little longer.

The tides have continued to be high this week. Both beach access paths have water trails flowing down the paths well before the tree line. Large pieces of driftwood, litter, and bull kelp have been washed onto the trail, and we will likely need to clean them up at some point, but we're waiting for now so we don't just repeat the process after the next high tide. The ocean and the shore look
drastically different from one day to the next. Some days it is brown and littered with driftwood, strewing it all over the beach. The next day it might be a deep blue, then a sort of wintergreen. The sand goes from ragged and rough looking to beautifully manicured. On several days, the water is almost a silver and white color, and lots of sea foam washed up. If you look with just the right window, it seems like it's snowed on the beach.

It's amazing how things shift, grow, deteriorate, grow again. How all these parts of the Earth morph and evolve. What parts will they have all play together? How will we fit into it? How will the sea, the trees, the mountains fit into my story, to camp's story? I'm not sure, but I am trying to grow closer to all these individual parts, trying to know them better.

Each morning on the way to the office, I've noticed smoke rising from the chimney of the Walworth Building. Last week its basement was flooded by about a foot of water. Rik started tearing it apart first thing this week. He pulled out the carpet and had the flooring inspected. He said that he pulled out one of the cabinet drawers after the water receded all the way, and it was still full of water. So, we know those drawers are sealed really well. To get the room completely dried out, Rik has kept the heat turned up and a steady fire going. With the ran last night, the basement flooded again with about 6 inches of water. The ground just isn't able to hold it.

So, our plans have been slowed down even more this week by the persistent rain that won't give us a break quite long enough. We can tell things are getting back to something like what we are used to.
But, they don't always move at the speed we'd like them to. Still, there are benefits to these types of slow downs. We are seeing things we might not have noticed otherwise. We are figuring out a way to fit into this story that's being written right now, trying to find a way we can best be used. Walking by Walworth, seeing the puffs of smoke, it occurred to me that the fire being used to dry out the flooded basement may be burning on logs from that fallen tree that the same storm brought down.

So many players in the story, so many ways the plots may change. There are many unexpected twists the story takes. As we get closer to Christmas, even thinking about that story, there are plenty of ways
characters and places are such a surprise, so different than how we might have written it. Here, during this Advent season, we are doing our best to be what we should be in our part of the story, hoping to offer up something that moves us down the right path. May we live into that mystery, may we see the beauty in every part of the story.

This weekend we Young Nak Youth Group for their Winter Retreat. Keep them in your prayers this weekend.

We'll be taking a break from "The News from Camp Magruder," for a couple of weeks for the holidays. Have no fear, though, we'll be back with more stories of camp life in the new year. Hope your holidays are a great blessing to you.

Friday, December 11, 2015

This Week at Camp Magruder 12/6-12

This week was dominated by rain. If you live in the Pacific Northwest, I don't have to tell you that, and maybe even if you don't live here you know. The sky dropped so much rain on us that we could not hold it. It brought down pieces of the mountains, collapsed roads, and overflowed our lakes and rivers. We've had breaks in the rain, even sunshine in moments, but rain hasn't stayed gone very long this week.

On Tuesday, it was raining very early. It was a different kind of rain than normal, much heavier and unrelenting. Angie came into the office completely soaked, and I knew when I went to lunch my fate would be similar. In just the short walk from the camp office to Miller Cottage, my pants were completely soaked like I had jumped in the lake. I put them in the dryer during lunch, but by the time I had walked back to work, they were soaked again. Over the next several hours, they would dry again, only to be soaked once more on the short walk home. By evening it was raining even harder, though, the kind of rain you duck down and lean into. I was ready to be in my house, warm until long after the rain was gone.

It would not happen. Around 11pm, I got a text from Peter that Walworth basement was flooded. Peter had seen the standing water outside of his room at Gatehouse and thought it wise to check on Walworth. He found about 8 inches of standing water that was steadily growing. The Walworth basement apartment is one of most newly renovated rooms at camp. Rik and the maintenance crew spent many hours, and it had been turned into a very nice homey place. It was sad for Peter and I to wade through water halfway up to our knees looking for someway to keep the water at bay. We carried out what furniture we could salvage, moving it upstairs as the rain kept pouring.

We woke to find ourselves surrounded by water. Across the lake, several mudslides had covered Highway 101, and dump-trucks and bulldozers were trying to reopen the road. Camp kids Seth, Fleming, and Kara took the camp kayaks down Old Pacific Highway. The street leading to camp was covered in water all the way to the gate. It's a surreal experience to see boats traversing an area you normally drive a car over. I have seen floods this high before. I remember kayaking through the woods over a trail I normally ran each day. I paddled past tree trunks submerged that two people couldn't wrap their arms around. It is such a surprising thing to find landscapes we think we know very well, suddenly completely different. It is a little bit exciting and a little bit unnerving all at the same time.

For the time being, most of us were stuck at camp unless we wanted to leave by boat. A few people were already showing signs of cabin fever, so we put together an impromptu staff board game night, and Jay and his wife Jamie agreed to host. Everyone convened at 7pm at the Pioneer Cottage, which was all decorated for Christmas. Jay made nachos, and Allyson made chocolate chip cookies and oreo balls. Sitting around a table, playing Catch Phrase and The Game of Things, laughing, sharing food, it seemed we were making the best of our situation. In fact, we were probably doing better than normal.

The rain continued to fall, and on Wednesday night the wind came too. All night long our windows were pelted with rain that sounded too harsh to be liquid. When the rain wasn't pounding, wind shook the windows. Lightening flashed, and thunder boomed. I woke up, pretty groggy from all the noise through the night. I looked at my digital clock, and it told me it was time to get up. By the time I made it downstairs, none of the clocks were on. A spruce near Smith and Herron fell across a power line, landing near the entrance to the outdoor chapel. We were without power, and would be for nearly the entire day, but it could have been much worse. If the tree had twisted more as it fell or got rerouted on the fall, it could have taken a building out.

We had scheduled a staff Advent discussion time, and the staff still at camp decided to carry on with it. We met in Carrier, where Allyson has been decorating for our staff Christmas party, scheduled for Sunday. We built a fire, and talked about the second week of Advent. Carrier has a generator, so we can keep the perishable food cold or frozen during extended power outages like this. Jay had chicken from his home that had to be cooked. Allyson had ingredients for chicken pot pie. We decided to collaborate. The power around camp would still be out for a few more hours, but we felt very thankful for our camp home and one building we could use to cook and stay warm. We made decorations, warm drinks, chicken pot pie, roasted broccoli, and kale chips.

As Steve, Jay, Jamie, Maddi, Allyson, and I gathered around the table to bless and share a meal together, it really did feel like we had a lot of blessings. We have seen big set backs this week, set backs that will cost us a lot of money and staff time we planned to use in other places. But, I know it is one that will stand out in our memories. Of course, it will stand out because of the landslides and overflowing lakes and fallen trees. But, it will also stand out in our minds because of the times we shared together when elements pushed us a little bit closer, and, in a stressful time, gave us a chance to be generous and loving to each other. I see that all over. People wanting to help other people, to share a meal, to clean up these giant messes that have spilled down from above us.

This is my first Christmas at Camp Magruder, it will certainly be an easy one to remember. In the midst of all this, Advent has stayed on my mind. It is about waiting, preparing, about hope in the goodness that is to come, about bringing that goodness into the world. I think about the nativity, and how in that story, Mary must have been thinking about how it wasn't going according to the plans she had for herself. They did the best they could with what they had, and it is a story that we're still telling today, a story we continue to go back to. I hope that these humble little exchanges during challenging times will also lead us to some kind of wonderful good that will be returned to and celebrated.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder 11/29-12/5

This week, the rain returned after our clear sunny Thanksgiving week. It hasn't been constant downpours on the coast--we've seen plenty of clear breaks, allowing us time to get out at lunch time without getting soaked. The new air bringing the rain has also warmed us up a bit too. It seems strange that during a week full of sunshine it was much cooler than the following week filled with rain and clouds. This happens all the time, but it still fools me if I'm not paying close attention to a forecast.

Early in the week, we put up a few Christmas Decorations in the Camp Magruder Welcome Center. We didn't go nuts and put lighted reindeer on the lawn. We didn't plug up the blow-up Santaland or pour fake snow all over the porch. Just a little tree on Angie's desk as you come in the door, and a little Nativity set on the opposite counter where time cards are filled out each morning and afternoon.

There's something about Christmas decorations that make a place feel nice and homey. I don't know exactly what it is, but it makes any office feel a little more welcoming. There is something different than the rest of the year. It's interesting how a little decoration can change our outlook on something. When you walk through a room and see the baby Jesus surrounded by well-wishers, there's a tiny readjustment waiting there, a little reminder of other things out in this vast universe of thoughts to occupy our minds.

This Tuesday was "Giving Tuesday," one of the days in the week of spending following Thanksgiving. We have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyper Monday, and recently Giving Tuesday has emerged. It's an attempt by the charities and non-profits of the world to appeal to people shelling out holiday money. Camp and Retreat in Oregon Idaho created a few memes for Giving Tuesday inviting people to donate to camp scholarships. Of course, I think sending a kid to camp who might not go otherwise is a great option if someone is looking to give. I shared one of the memes on the Camp Magruder facebook page along with a link to donate to camp scholarships, and moved on to other office work, excited that it might have earned a few kids a trip to camp next summer.

My efforts were pretty disappointing, though, based on the numbers. This post had, by far, the lowest reach of anything I've ever posted on facebook. To compare to other posts, at one point in the day, I changed the Camp's cover photo to a beautiful beach sunset I captured a few months back. That post currently has "reached" 406, with 78 likes, 3 comments, and 1 share. The Giving Tuesday meme put up a few hours before that post has reached 26, 0 likes, 0 comments, and 0 shares. I'm not mentioning this as some sort of passive-aggressive guilt trip on our page followers. I'm mostly just confused by it. Obviously, if I wanted to spread the word about giving for Camp Scholarships on a day that's supposed to be a big giving day, this post was for some reason an epic fail.

There are so many possible explanations for this, so many conclusions that could be drawn. The most pessimistic one is probably just that people don't care about giving. Our page followers just care about pretty pictures. I don't believe it's that simple, because I know a lot of these people are very giving. It could be a lot of other things. Maybe our page followers already gave to the scholarship or some other worthy charity, so the post doesn't apply. Maybe we should have used a sunset picture for our meme instead of two campers. Maybe people who give just don't go searching on facebook to make their decisions. Maybe people are completely overwhelmed by all these pleas everywhere they look for their quickly depleting funds. Still, at the end of the day, I hoped we might get a few more kids to camp, and this just didn't make it happen, for whatever reason. I just really want find a way to spread more of the love and resources we have and are aching to give out to the people in the world who are aching to receive it. There has to be a way to pull these people together.

As I've walked from the office to my home, down the main drive of Camp Magruder, I've seen the wind pick up. White caps on Lake Smith. The spruces, hemlocks, and cedars sway like dancers, and the wind whistles. It's chilling, and on the coast with the ocean air, it can be hard to warm your body back up. I love the knowing that there are buildings nearby where the fire will be lit, where the greenery will be hung, where reminders of the season and our faith are on display. In some of these rooms there is a set of little figures gathered around a manger with a little new born. They kneel around him as we often still do when a baby enters the world.

It is Advent, and the church is in this time of anticipation, this time of hopefulness in days getting darker. Christmas means so many different things to so many different people. I can be joyful and stressful, a blessing and a burden. As the wind blows and the rains come. As we find ourselves strapped in this time that's called a holiday, I hope we can find something that will bring and spread joy. I hope we can do this without guilt trips, without obligation, with a spirit of love and sharing. I hope this season, we will fix our gaze on a star that is so compelling to us that we follow it, and it becomes every bit as amazing as it looks. And if facebook posts are not going to be that star, I'm fine with that. I just hope we find that star that leads us to humble stable with a young mother, her husband, and her beautiful child. I hope we feel we have enough time to just sit with them, with the animals, with the shepherds, to share in their joy. A joy we will keep passing along.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Give Thanks with Us

This week, as our staff prepares to get on the road, dust up the kitchen, and spend time with loved ones, we take a little bit of time to look back on our year and give thanks for so many of the blessings that found their way to our gates. Here's just a few of the things we're thankful for this year:

-The Rain
-The Sunshine
-The fantastic performance of the Choir Camp, after just a few days of practice.
-The newts that slowly parade around camp after a fresh rain
-The smell of the spruces on a warm, sunny day
-The sound of laughter and the shock of the cold when campers first touch the ocean water during wave jumping
-The taste of the camp ginger snaps
-The view from the big dune, looking out over the ocean
-The sound of people singing in unison around a warm campfire as the night takes hold
-The feeling you get telling someone goodbye after a weekend retreat, watching them drive away, feeling you've made a new friend
-The blow-up carnival held in our central field by Camp to Belong for siblings separated in the foster care system.
-Climbing the giant Sitka Spruce on the east side of the big dune, nearly 60 feet high, using harnesses and ropes with a group of senior highs
-The sound of the Camp Magruder chow bell
-The beautiful summer sunsets that blend purples, pinks, reds, oranges, and blue
-The train ride with family campers to Garibaldi and back
-A summer staff of young adults who could do so many things in a summer, but chose to pour time, sweat, and love into creating life changing experiences for our campers and guests.
-Edible mushroom hunts
-Hearing the Portland Gay Men's Chorus perform hits from ABBA and Queen
-A housekeeping staff who make this place look like new over and over and over again
-The quiet and holiness of lighting a fire in one of the firepits just before the group arrives
-The sound of sacred songs reverberating beautifully from the walls of Sherlock or Carrier lodges.
-Prayer time at the outdoor chapel
-Exploring the paths on the west side of camp, under moss-covered Shore Pines
-A maintenance staff who literally keep the place running and continue to beautify our buildings
-Watching the super blood moon rise over the mountain with the women of the Needlepoint Camp
-The moment on a kayak, in the middle of the lake, when you look up to the mountain, it's reflection on the water, and all the green trees, and you must just pause and enjoy the beauty
-The silhouettes of campers standing near the ocean surf, arms draped over each others shoulders, standing in awe-The all-camp campfires where elementary, middle school, and senior highs share songs, stories, and skits around the fire
-The excitement in someone's face when they shoot a bow and arrow for the first time and manage to hit the target
-The ever-present sound of the ocean waves meeting the sands of the shore
-The way that God manifests a presence in all these things

Happy Thankgiving to you and yours. May your life be filled with blessings like they have been for us.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder 11/15-21

It was raining as the week began here at Camp Magruder. And, it kept raining. And, then it rained some more. It kept raining. And kept raining. And kept raining. Then, it cleared up a little. Then it started to rain again. By Wednesday, the rains had subsided, but the water left on the ground will take much longer to subside.

Just a few weeks ago, Smith Lake was as low as many of us had ever seen it. Parts of the swim dock sat on the ground. After the rain, it was difficult to get to the dock without first wadding through
some of the lake. Just a few weeks ago the Wetlands Trail seemed very inappropriately named. The marshy area that is typically covered with lily pads and swamp grasses was nearly dry. As the relentless rain kept coming, that area refilled, then began to pour out onto Old Pacific Highway, the camp's only outlet to Highway 101.

Old Pacific Highway covered with water
The water on the road grew, until it covered the entire street and the yards of the houses there. It was deep enough that on Monday morning, Camp Magruder Staff had to drive the trucks on site over the high water to pick up staff members with low profile cars. Even in the trucks that sit high off the ground, there was a moment in the deepest pool of water where the vehicle slowed down, and you wondered if it would make it. Water splashed up on both sides, 7 feet high, like one of those amusement park rides that promises, "You Will Get Wet."

With everyone piled into the camp Jimmy, cutting tire trails through deep standing water, it felt a bit like the staff morning commute. We would get out of the vehicle and disperse to our respective offices and work sites, start our individual tasks. But, for a moment we were one staff sharing one journey. In a way, we are sharing one big journey, though it's easy to forget that sometimes when our tasks give us tunnel vision. In a more metaphorical sense, we're always in that vehicle together, trying to get from one side to the other.

The second half of this week has been totally different from the first half. Almost no precipitation, and even some sunshine. The pools of water are receding, and the largest one has dropped low enough that even the most compact sedan can cross it. During my lunch break yesterday, I went to the beach to see the ocean under sunshine--something that has recently been an unfamiliar sight. Up and down the beach were large pieces of driftwood, some bigger around than my torso. Some of these large pieces of wood were in the surf, being tossed back and forth. The rivers must have swelled and taken these trunks and spit them into the ocean. Now the ocean was returning them to us for a time.

As we approach this time of giving thanks, this time of holidays and gift giving, it's easy to get tunnel vision, to attach ourselves to things, to activities. We make ourselves certain they are the most important thing, that we must attend to them above all else. We have this tendency to forget there are much larger things surrounding us. These things often sit quiet, surrounding us. Occasionally though, they remind us, there is much more, there is something much larger. That we should stand in awe at such amazingness, amazingness that we inhabit. Amazingness that we build together sharing each of our beautiful gifts. Sometimes it will come unexpectedly. Sometimes it will wash over us and change all the plans we carefully laid out. If we are fortunate, we will wake up one morning, though, and walk into the sunshine and know we have witnessed greatness and that we are a little greater because of it.

This weekend, we welcome Boy Scout Troop 799, Southridge High School Concert Choir, and Matthew Houser. This will be our last set of weekend retreat groups for a while. As you think about what you're thankful for, join us in giving thanks for all the groups who brightened our doorstep this year.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder 11/8-14

It's been a quiet week at Camp Magruder. This is our first week without an Outdoor School group, so the buildings are dormant, lights out, heat turned down. They are waiting for a few more weekend groups this November, then they'll go into a mini hibernation. The only noise you'll hear in our lodges will be raindrops on the rooftop and gusts of wind from the ocean. The days have been grayer and the nights earlier. These are warm soup days. Build a fire in the fireplace days. Complete the work you've been putting off kind of days.

The rain is making itself more comfortable on the Oregon Coast. We've showers nearly every day, and over the weekend we could get close to 3 inches. Puddles are morphing into small ponds at camp, and Smith Lake is swelling to the point that it might spill out onto Old Pacific Highway. Steve and Rik chatted about rains of the past that have rendered the only road out of camp impassable. Then, they say, it becomes important to find the key to the padlock to the gate at the fire lane between us and Barview Jetty park. There are high surf advisories for evening, so it feels like our two bodies of water are squeezing us just a little. Just a little hug.

While out walking, I passed Jay working in the garden, pulling up all the vegetables that were past their prime, the ones that wouldn't handle the upcoming downpours very well. Some of it can stay, but some needs to be cleared out to prepare for next year. Jay's dog Delila was there as an assistant, begging for her owner to throw the frisbee or whatever twig she could find along the driveway. We are finishing up the harvests, clearing out for the winter rains. The Earth needs to be still here for a while, we are looking for some stillness as well. Sometimes it's important to have a period of waiting. It readies you for the future, for something big that is to come.

Also on my walk, I passed Gatehouse to see a Ford Ranger pick-up with a lot of bumper stickers parked in the drive. I knew immediately it was Ben, one of our 2015 Resource Staffers. Ben had come up for a surprise visit and to hang out with Peter. It is always such a blessing to have friends choose to visit you. Ben worked long, difficult hours over the summer, went through lots of stress and exhaustion. He could easily have said that he put in his time and was ready to move on to less strenuous tasks. Instead, he has come back to see us several times. It is what we want--that this place means more to people than the work there is, that the work itself is a blessing, and that those who take part in it want more of it. We didn't put Ben to work--he was an honored guest. We were happy to see one of this place's kids coming home.

If you go out walking at Camp Magruder during the week, you are much less likely to encounter someone than you would have been earlier. There are fewer interruptions to the sounds of the ocean, the crows, the seagulls. Every now and then, though, you'll still find someone here that's a part of this place. There are still hands at work, even in these darker, cooler, wetter days. We are working to give this place some rest, so we can give ourselves rest, so we can turn around and give our guests rest when they come to visit. Even if it is raining, go out there for moment, take a deep breath. There is a lot going on, a lot see and feel in the quiet.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder 11/1-7

Magruder woke up Monday to sunny skies and a beautiful, cool Fall day following a steady, strong string of weekend downpours. The Halloween rainstorm could have easily been followed by two straight weeks of rain, and we would not have been surprised. Instead we were greeted by a few of the prettiest days we've seen in a while. We so often feel like we have life figured out, that most things are predictable. But, the world is out to surprise us.

There was a stir in the camp office Monday morning. I heard astonished voices asking if that was what they thought it was. At the main entrance, Rik stood in the doorway holding a mushroom about the size of his head. While doing their rounds near the office, they had found the huge King Bolete near the office walls. He and Mark discussed the best ways to slice it up, and exactly how many people or how many meals it would produce. The recent rains have produced huge mushrooms, edible and poisonous, all over the grounds. You might find them hidden deep in the woods or in the flower beds right next to our most frequented buildings.

Before the rain, it was below all the numbers
The rain was also just about enough on its own to refill Smith Lake which has been historically low after the dry winter and summer. There had been a wide path around the lake of sand that is normally under water. The ground under the boat house was completely dry. With the Halloween rain, water is back up to the bank. All the ground under the boathouse is covered with water, and it isn't just a little.

We figured the lake would be filled again, but we didn't necessarily expect this quickly. One day you are walking next to the lake, the dock sitting on the ground. It starts to rain and you go inside. When the rain subsides and you go back out, it looks like a different body of water. The water color was a muddy brown, rather than its normal clear blue. It felt swollen and thick. I think about the fires of the summer, the lack of rain compared to what is the norm. This is a promising amount of rain to maybe avoid some of those problems. But, we'll need it steady. The mountains will need snow. Still, for today with blue skies and breezy winds overhead, it's nice to see the dock sitting a little higher on the metal posts that go all the way down into the sands at the bottom.

Though in some ways it feels like they just got here, the Fall Outdoor school staff just finished up their last week with us. The feel of outdoor school evenings has really been altered by the end of Daylight Savings Time. Until now, supper took place during daylight and finished right around sunset recently. In the dining hall, the natural light was brighter than the indoor lighting. This week, it's been completely dark outside during supper, with the flourescents of the dining hall all we had to see from. I shook hands and gave hugs to this group of people who have been residents with us for the last three months. I wonder what memories they will take with them, how they will look back on their time here weeks from now, months, years down the road. Will they remember us? Did we leave them something memorable?

Walking around on a dark, starry night, I listened to campers cross back and forth, watched flashlights flicker up down, north, south. I thought about how different it feels now to get dark so early, to have these students still so active. I thought about how even next week, the camp will be so much quieter as we settle into this different time of the year. This time when we expect more quiet. This time when we expect more rain. What will it ultimately bring to us? What will we remember? What will have fed us?

Friday, October 30, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder 10/25-31

The rain has arrived at Camp Magruder, wetting the ground and the spruce needles just about every day this week. The sun has been hiding behind overcast skies for the most part, and many staff members have talked about the urge to stay indoors with a blanket, a warm fire, and something warm to sip.

The rain has not deterred this week's outdoor school, though. Walking around camp, you see rain jackets, hoods up and pulled tight. This week there are just under 200 campers, and the dining hall is completely full with very little elbow room. Due to the rain and cooler temperatures, we've seen more fires in the Carrier fireplace. There is something about coming into a room with a roaring fire when you've been out in the cold and wet.

There is a wheelbarrow full of galoshes for outdoor students to stretch onto their feet, so they can feel free to tromp around in the mud of the wetlands, to observe the newts, insects, footprints, and other signs of lake life. If you let yourself feel too uncomfortable by the rain and the mud, it will be easy to miss something extraordinary. It is best to be able to plunge into your environment, let it coat your clothes, let some dirt get under the fingernails. There's a lot to get to know, but you must pay attention beyond the rain.

Our last scheduled boating activity for the year happened a few weekends ago, so it came time to remove the fleet of Camp Magruder rowboats from the water. As the rain and wind increases, Lake Smith becomes less and less hospitable to small, wooden vessels. Rik, Tommie, and Mark piloted the boats for one last journey, from the boat dock to the shore in front of the swim area. We flipped them over, emptying a little leftover rain water and carried them on to shore, flipping them over, revealing all the algae that had been growing since Spring.

They are the latest Camp Magruder fixture  put away to rest until next year. In the underside of those boats, in those now empty boat slips, there are a lot of memories resting as well. I'll remember the boat ride I made with a group of Somali students after rescuing them from the edge of the lake on a windy day. I'll remember rowing out with the summer resource staff at the end of the day to share where we had seen God in our day and pray about the joys and concerns in our lives. I'll recall those moments I paused from my rowing because the beauty of the mountains, trees, the blue sky and ocean clouds just struck me, and all I could do was pause and marvel at it all. It is enough to just go sit at the dock or on one of the wooden benches of the boat to have those feelings come back like an old friend visiting.

We are slowly putting things away at Camp Magruder. The yellow school buses pulled out full of middle schoolers, and next week will be the last time a group comes in for outdoor school until next year. We will say goodbye to this group of staff who we've watched the past few months. It seems like just a little while ago they were training, learning lessons. These days, they are the teachers. But, they will soon take their rest from it, with more time to relish the stories from week after week of kids gracing the mud and grass and lakewater with their feet.

Yes, rest is coming. The time to bundle up and let the roof do its job, holding off the rain is just around the corner. Then, we will recharge the battery, smile at the stories, prepare ourselves to be our best when the next group comes to our door. But, for now, there is a little more time to get out and feel the rain on your forehead like a blessing from the sky. Get out there and explore, take it in. Don't worry about soggy feet the wet hair. Build a blazing fire when you get home. But, in this hour, don't squander the chance at just a few more memories.

This weekend we host Nueva Esperanza Church Family Group. We pray their experience will bring growth and peace.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder 10/18-24

The air is feeling more and more like Fall at Camp Magruder. Rain is visiting, but not taking permanent residence. Monday was a very rainy day, but even then, the sun managed to peek through. We have lots of dew and fog in the mornings and evenings, so there is more of that familiar Pacific Northwest feeling of waterdrops and squishy trails. The newts make their slow parade across the driveway. They seem to know a lot of things we don't always pay attention to.

The slightly cooler temps and moisture increase have brought mushrooms on in droves. As you pass through the woods at Camp Magruder, it's difficult to avoid stepping on the little fungi that have sprouted up from the ground just in the past few days. The edible mushrooms have surfaced as well, and the mushroom hunters on staff have begun the race to gather the largest score of tasty molds they can get their hands on.

One morning I was out and I ran into Rik, Tommie, and Mark as they were making the rounds, inspecting the camp grounds. An outdoor school staffer asked Rik if he had seen any good mushrooms, and Rik reached into his hoodie pocket and pulled out a blobby, white mushroom. "This is a maitake." You never know what Rik will have gathered up and be keeping in his pockets. Each one of us is full of anecdotes--we have so many things we've gathered up over time just waiting to be shared with those who might find interest.

The tides are always in flux on the ocean, and recently we've seen that the high tides are coming in a little closer to our tree line. Something in these changes has brought in piles of seaweed or kelp to the shore and deposited them in varying ranges up and down the beach. These little stacks of ocean grass will be with us for a while. Some will be blown off to other places, others will be swallowed back up by the sea. The ocean is full of surprises, and it's hard to say what it will bring next, what will leave, what will return.

As I walked to the dining hall on Wednesday, I heard beyond the trees a new group of outdoor school campers practicing for the first time the outdoor school "announcements" song. It's basically a song the whole group will sing at announcements time that draws the attention to the speaker. It unifies them on one thing, immediately breaks up all the little conversations going on, and gives the kids a routine. They know right after the song its time to listen, so no one has to try to tell them to. It can become this fun, silly song they song. One of those things we try to do well at camp--trick the kids into thinking they are just doing something fun, when you actually also want them to be quiet.

The song begins with claps and the word "announcements" broken into three parts and chanted: "A-NOUNCE-MENTS," twice. Then they begins singing, "..and I say hey, yeah, yeah, eh-uh. Hey yeah, yeah. I said HEY. What's going on." If you are a child of the 90s like me, you probably recognize it from the one hit wonder song "What's up," by Four Non-Blondes. I was in high school when this song was big, and it was one of my favorites at the time. I remember when I'd hear it feeling like it was saying something "deep." It was connecting to me in such a powerful way with this disaffected sort of angst that so many teenagers carry with them. I couldn't even now really explain what this song is getting at, and I'm not sure 4 Non-Blondes could tell you either. But, it was like the music was getting at something I couldn't explain.

How many songs do we go back to like this? If this song came out new today, I would laugh it off and turn the channel. But, it didn't come out in 2015, it came out when I was at a very different place in a different time, so it reminds me a little bit of who I was back then, feelings I had back then that are different, some that are similar. Some feelings I miss, some I'm glad I've moved on from. I wonder how it will be different for these kids if they hear this song on the 90s rewind on the radio and realize that it's the  outdoor school announcements song. What memories will it bring up for them? How will the song mean something different to them than it does to people my age? How will we feel something that is very much the same?

We walk through this life gathering up things, even when we don't realize what we are gathering. We decide over time what will hold onto and what we leave behind on the sand to blow away. What we hold onto says something about who we are, what is important to us, what we think we need to survive. On these beautiful fall days, where the sun has warmed away the fog and morning drizzle, I try to take the longer route to my destination, listen and feel a little bit more, hoping there will be something in that time I want to take from the day. I hope as we, the ones blessed to travel to the spot on the ocean will find messages tucked away from the divine, and that we will scoop them up and put them in our pocket to share with anyone who's interested.

This weekend, we host the Hillsboro High School Choir and the Oregon Mycological Society. Help us pray that their stays are filled with joy and peace.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder 10/11-17

We saw more cloudy days on the coast this week, as we move through October. The mornings have been crisp and cool, warming up a touch as the day goes on, then cooling back off as night comes on. We are still waiting for the rain, but the clouds are a big change from the sunny days we've been treated to so regularly. Out walking today, I looked to the tops of the mountains to our east and saw where the clouds drifted over the tops of the highest trees. Somewhere behind them there was a blue sky, veiled for the time being.

We had a split week at Outdoor school, which means that the crew hosted two separate groups--one the first half of the week and the other the second half. They have to squeeze in shorter time the lessons they typically do with one group during a week. They start a day earlier, and it's obviously more tiring than their normal weeks. They say goodbye to one group, and pretty quickly, the bus for the next group pulls in.

I generally hope for groups to spend as much time as they can at camp, and not just because it ensures my paycheck. If you take one day to camp, you change your perspective, jump into a new place, shake up the rhythm. If you spend two days, you start to feel your clock shift, you get out of your normal routines. If you stay three days or more, you find yourself in a new rhythm, a new community. This length of time encourages reflections, examinations of who you are, it's ripe for life changing revelations. On a two day retreat, about the time I get settled into something new, it's time to go. Think about the days you went to camp for a whole week. When you left, it felt different. You had time warped to something different.

Of course, I think anytime spent out of the normal routine is good for us. It's one of the big reasons we should take Sabbath. We need some time to wander around in something different, to see life differently. It challenges us, helps us grow, makes us realize there is something important outside of our day to day agendas. So, one day is better than none. One hour is better than none. But, as we step deeper into that time warp, the more chances we will come out changed. I wonder how these students have been changed by the week. I hear so many people from teenagers to senior citizens tell me the fond memories they have from outdoor school. How they remember their time at Camp Magruder and relish the chance to return.

The students spend time playing games, hiking, sitting around camp fires, eating together, drawing samples from the water. What all are they discovering? In finding newts in the lake, is someone getting over nervousness about woodland critters? Are kids learning about cleaning, sweeping, and washing dishes for the first time? Are they going home thinking about the trash they create about the trees they walk under? Did someone find a crush for the first time on a fellow student sitting around the camp fire, seeing them in a completely new way? What will they take with them as they work back into the regular school rhythms? Will it be any different when they return to home room and sit down in the seats Monday morning? It may take years to know all these answers.

Thursday evening, I was driving with my wife back from Tillamook. It was near sunset and still pretty bright. As we neared Garibaldi and the Tillamook Bay, we both noticed a pretty thick marine layer, blanketing the bay and the surrounding mountains. As we entered, the scenery changed completely. It seemed like we had jumped ahead several hours, because it was almost completely dark. The car lights came on. We had entered into a different dimension. We could only see what was right in front of us. We knew there should be water nearby, we near there were trees and mountains, but we did not see them. We had to just trust that they were still there. We found camp in this thick foggy air. Just hours later the sky was clearer and you could see the stars.

Friday afternoon, I spent a few hours taking the needed projectors, extension cords, and tables to the lodges. During these quiet moments of preparations at a place, it's a great time for memories to return. The camp moments you recall as a kid, the people you met, the things you realized about yourself standing out in the open under the sky. I wonder what will come this weekend, what beautiful things might happen in front of us. I wonder how our time here will change us. The clouds spent the whole day here, and they look to be here for the weekend. We are often staring into a fog.
Even our best predictions of what's ahead are guesses. But, maybe we will learn more. We'll walk into the fog of another week, on our best days full of faith, hope, and love.

This weekend we welcome Tigard UMC, Brush Prairie Baptist Women's Retreat, UMCOR Kit Camp, and Aloha High School Choir. Pray with us that their stay with us brings something new and special.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder 10/4-10

It's looking more and more like Fall each day at Camp Magruder. The trees here are mostly evergreen, but the few deciduous trees on property are turning yellow. We're seeing more and more cloudy skies, but sunshine is still managing to peek through at some point nearly every day. Our switch to Fall has been a gradual one this year. In the way the sun sets just a little earlier each evening, we drift just a little closer to cooler, cloudier, rainier days each week.

This week, the office staff has spent a lot of time thinking about groups to come. Steve has found much of his day occupied by groups calling to make reservations between now and this time in 2016. Most of my work has been preparing for the Summer of 2016. This means adjusting application forms, thinking about next year's staff positions, firming up next summer's dates, and contacting the people who will lead our summer camps next year.

I think about the role of Camp Dean, and what I've known it to be over the years. The way we currently do camp, it is a very important piece of what's going on. There are certainly other models, but they would cost our staff much more in either time or money. The Camp Dean is not the only factor in a good camp week--if the Dean is inexperienced, having a bad week, or just not engaged the right way the camp can recover. Camp can make some amazing things happen regardless of bumps in the road under the right conditions. Still, a good Camp Dean can send a camp over the top.

I first started to imagine myself working at camp when I sat in my camp theme times, watching different leaders. Some did not have a knack for keeping our teenage attention spans (and this was in the 90s). On the other hand, some blew me away. I learned things and grew while having fun, while making connections with the people around me. It was a revelation to me that there were so many more ways to teach something than to listen to an "expert," talk about it. I began to imagine the ways that I would do it if I was in charge. Soon enough, I was one of the people in front of a group trying to help a group discover something deeper about their faith.

As I call around, asking leaders if they would like to help again, or introducing myself to someone new, asking if they might lead a camp for the first time, I imagine possibilities. I wonder if they are imagining these things too. I remember a worship we did where we had the campers walk around the worship space and exchange the phrase, "you are loved," to each other. After the worship concluded, they went out to the other camps that were there and started telling strangers, "you are loved." They did this for the rest of the week, and in their letters to me after camp, closed with this phrase. I had no idea they might carry it this far. It was such a blessing to see this idea catch fire and get bigger than I imagined it.

I wonder what leaders think when they are asked to do something like this. I know when I am asked, I generally first think about all the other things I have to do. I think about how busy I am and how much time and energy it takes to do something like that. The memories of seeing lives transform, seeing kids grow up and realize something new comes later. The joy of laughing about something that began at camp in a way we know no one else will fully get--that is farther down the road. It takes me longer to remember returning to the camp where I grew up and worked for years to volunteer for a week, and how it was a highlight of my year. We have more pragmatic things to consider first, and, of course, we need to consider those things. Still though, we spend a good bit of our time longing for something meaningful, something life changing. I try to remind myself to make time for something I'm longing for.

The wind has picked up as the weekend comes on. The spruces and pines and dancing outside the window, and sprinkles of rain ebb and flow. Earlier in the week, we had a steady rain. I jokingly asked what was this strange wet stuff falling from the sky. Steve said, "it's the new normal." The wind brings in new things periodically. We hope it will bring the type of precipitation that will refill the lakes, cure the drought, manage the wildfires. We hope for nourishment in this time of harvest. I hope that in these months to come, when we ask for help, a group of brave souls will extend their hands. I hope this not just because of what it will do for the camp, but what it will do to those who volunteer that time. I know from experience. I know how it can change a person.

This weekend we are happy to host an American Field Studies Youth Orientation. Please keep them in your weekend prayers.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder 9/27-10/3

The sun has been playing peek-a-boo with us all week on the Oregon Coast. Nearly every day has been highlighted by stretches of cloud cover and stretches of sunlight. It makes for revolving background changes, each of them beautiful in their own right. You never know what type of air will float in over Smith Lake, sandwiched between the mountains and the ocean. We walk next to it each day hoping we can welcome any type of air that comes our way.

Our Needlework Camp spent most of the week with us, after a weekend start last Friday. It was a small group of all women, here to work on projects that ranged from cross-stitch to knitting to quilting to mixed media art. Whenever I would go to the Kimberly Center meeting space, I'd find them with scraps of fabric spread out, working and chatting. Many of these women have known each other for decades. Some are new members to this little family. We talked about how a retreat like this can be so refreshing--to leave the normal world behind to pour care and focus on one task. To have the freedom to walk outdoors anytime, to chat and put the task on the back burner.

Early in the week, the Needlework Camp and camp staff went to the beach to see the Super Blood Moon. I got to the beach just before the sunset and caught a beautiful display of color and light as the sky changed from bright orange and yellow to purple and blue. As the night came on, I changed positions and faced East where the moon would soon rise over the mountains, just as the eclipse was reaching its peak. It was windy and chilly, but it was completely clear, so we knew we'd see this astronomical event very well.

I stretched my eyes scanning the mountain, wondering exactly what point the moon would rise over. How red would it be? Kara, Steve's daughter, said she kept being fooled by the red tower lights behind Rockaway, thinking momentarily it was the moon. Then the dull red ball peeked up above the mountain. I heard the Needlework camp cheer and laugh like middle schoolers. We marveled at this familiar site colored in such an unfamiliar way. It's interesting how much joy we can find in simply seeing something we know, differently than we're used to.

On Thursday afternoon, I first started seeing reports of the shooting at Umpqua Community College. I scanned my brain, wondering if I knew anyone, and though I couldn't think of anyone, I'm sure there are plenty of people I know who were touched by it. I think we've all felt the familiar feelings that we are becoming more used to from these incidents. This one was much closer to our back yards, though, so I think we've imagined it more from a personal perspective or someone we love. There are all the common feelings of sadness and anger. There are all the arguments over solutions. There are the urges to act, the urges to mourn, the urges to reflect and do the right thing.

Our Needlework group left Wednesday morning after their final worship. I saw how far they had come on their projects, the slow building of something that will adorn a wall or warm someone on a cold night. Our second week of outdoor school campers left this afternoon, just after lunch. They will make their way back home and return to their school buildings next week. For a short time, silence fell over the camp, before our weekend groups made their trek out to the coast. We will carry on with our plans. These thoughts will stay with us, though. I'll remember the joy of the rising moon. I'll be confused by the killing of innocents, and not know how to hold them in the same room. I'll hope that in our prayers we ask for guidance. I hope we will find ways to pray with our hands, our feet, our mouths, our ears.

This weekend we welcome Christ UMC, Salem UMC, Trinity UMC, a Fall Photography Retreat, and Reed College Leadership. Hold them in your prayers this week along with the many others.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder, 9/20-26

This week, the coast held off the ensuing fall, at least as far as the sky goes. We were treated to sunny skies and mild temperatures, the type of days you just want to stop and look at. We've had a lot of good cloud days this week--days where the puffy clouds frame the scenery. They seem to make the mountains look bigger, the oceans a deeper blue. We saw the first day of Fall this week, we know this cannot last.

Outdoor School welcomed their first group of students on Tuesday. The staff spent last week training, then on Monday they welcomed a group of high school counselors and trained them. They walked the counselors around, teaching them the lessons and activities that they worked to perfect last week. It is this series of lessons being passed along. These outdoor staff members have been studying this for years, they've learned to teach this. They teach the counselors, who have some prior knowledge  how to assist with the lessons. Then they will pass it on to the students who may be hearing it for the first time. All of these groups are learning something new by taking part in learning/teaching activities together.

I remember one of my first years on a camp summer staff I learned to facilitate a high ropes course. I was learning under Neil, one who had been a summer staffer himself. I was nervous about this work, because it was scary. Kids would depend on me to protect their safety high above the ground. Neil taught me, watched me go through the steps, encouraged me. When I was comfortable enough, Neil called the next staffer up and had me give him the instruction. He said that you learn something better when you have to teach it (he watched and filled in the gaps, of course). I would use the same techniques years later when I was training people. I learned more each time I taught. We all learned from each other.

At Wednesday dinner, the Outdoor school staff did their customary, "tip for the Earth," where they did a skit on plastic bags versus reusable cotton totes. Then, Bobcat got the kids' attention and asked Peter to come out. It was his birthday, and she instructed the group on how to sing, "Happy Birthday," dividing them into separate parts. Peter is one of Camp Magruder's three chefs. He works the evening shift and takes care of a lot of the seasonal staff, bringing leftovers to Gate House and always knowing allergies. Angie had found a gluten/dairy free cobbler recipe for Peter who can't have either, and she cooked it up for him earlier in the day.

I think about how many times Peter saved leftover cinnamon rolls or cookies for staff members. How the rest of our dining hall staff know other staff members' personal favorites, and how they pass them along spreading this tasty joy to everyone. I hope Peter felt some of that appreciation as one hundred something middle schoolers sang to him, as he blew out the candle on his cobbler. I hope that we are passing along that kind of joy and love to each other in a way that teaches all of us. I hope we are learning from each other and growing to something new, some better version of ourselves.

This week we saw the Equinox, the last day of Summer, the first day of Fall. We had equal parts daylight, equal parts night. July doesn't seem that long ago, when the sun was setting well into the 9 o'clock hour. Before we know it, we'll be at the
Solstice of the other end, where dark skies have a monopoly. We mark these days and wonder how it moves so fast. We look at how old we are and think of years past, what we knew then, what we know now, how we got here. Who knows what lessons we are passing on right now, what lessons we are learning? Who knows how they will be passed on, what will come from the new lessons we learn together. Of the ancient ones that have been passed down longer than we know.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder, 9/13-19

Weather on the coast this week has been pleasant for the most part with cloudy skies but warm air. We've had our share of rain, but it's mostly happened overnight. This is the best of both worlds for us. We desperately need rain and lots of it, but we do like warm, clear skies when we go outside. It's a dilemma we often find ourselves in, being pulled between what we enjoy on a surface level and what we truly need.

I am new to Camp Magruder, so I don't have any prior summers to compare it to, but everyone I've heard from agrees this has been one of the driest summers they've ever seen. Most comment that they've never seen Smith Lake lower. The swim area seemed to shrink day by day. You can stand with your head above water in places that were 8-9 feet deep.

Though a little troubling, the low water has offered some opportunities. Mark and Tommie, with the help of some resource staff, trimmed the brush around the lake that was beginning to block the views from the Sherlock deck, the Outdoor Chapel, and the Meditation Patio. There are a few posts left in the water from the old dock that have been challenging to remove that we might be able to move a little easier now. And, the low water has revealed a new lakeside path that recent guests have used to see less familiar views of the lakeside.

It is good for us to make the most of any situation. We should see the good in all things, but also hope for something that is a greater good, something sustaining. Even if we get several straight months of non-stop rain, we know we should not complain. When we think about it, our best selves will see the blessings and find a way to live happily with anything when we know it's doing something important for us all.

The Columbia Basin Basketry Guild has spent most of the week with us, occupying most of the lodges onsite. In each meeting space, people work away weaving various materials into what will become a beautiful basket. It is interesting how these projects start out as a handful of straw or shaved wood. It slowly begins to look like a plate, then has a lip to it. Some will grow a wall, becoming something totally new and useful. This is something humans have been doing for thousands of years. Long ago, we figured out a way to twist and weave the common elements together into something that could carry stuff better than our arms could on their own.

Northwest Outdoor School leaders also arrived this week to train for the work they'll do all Fall at Camp Magruder. They are mostly post college, some we've seen before and some new. Each week they will teach science lessons to middle schoolers in places where they can witness all these things happen. I really believe in this type of education. A type of learning where you get to look at, hear, touch, and smell what you're learning about. This kind of learning can get kids to fall in love with a subject for life. I am so glad we can offer a place for this kind of teaching to happen.

I watch them this week as they get to know each other better, as they practice their lessons and their protocol. It's fun to watch 20 and 30 something year olds running around in the field playing deer and mountain lions. It cool to see them growing close to each other in a short amount of time. They will be such a big part of each other's worlds for the next few months. Training weeks are usually uplifting like this--they are filled with the vision of what can be, all the things they can accomplish together. It will start getting more difficult immediately, as soon as the first bus pulls up. They'll get more stressed, they won't always get along. But if their best selves prevail, they'll see the blessings even in the difficult moments. They'll find a way to make something good, something sustaining. We'll be watching through sunlight and rain.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder, 9/6-12

More and more days of steady fog are telling us that summer won't be around much longer. But, even if we continued to have dry, sunny days out at Camp Magruder, there would be other signs the summer months are about to give way to Fall. There are many ways we find to mark out days, to remind us how time passes.
Labor Day marked the point in the year when we take down the ropes for the swim area and the inflatable trampoline that has been sending people skyward above the lake all summer long. Joelle and Laura were the only Resource Staff members still serving--our other three have already left for Fall classes. We waded into Smith Lake with its normal chilliness and began to unhook ropes, swimming them back to shore. 

The three of us all began to recall the June day when we gathered with the rest of the summer staff to dust off all these parts and put them together. It seemed so long ago, and we seemed so green, so naive, still learning how all these things worked. Before it was time to unhook the trampoline and walk to to shore to deconstruct, we decided to swim out and jump on it one more time. Rik pulled up in the golf cart and we invited him to join, but he didn't seem to share the same nostalgia that day. 

In our lives we spend so much time building and taking down. We take the chairs down at each meal only to put them back up again when we finish. Leaving something out for too long is dangerous.
Keeping something packed up too long is dangerous in a different way. To take true care of something we must know when to do both. Each one has its own set of emotions that often accompany it as well. The setting up involves excitement, energy, hunger. The taking down often involves reflection, contemplation, a humbleness.

On Thursday we said goodbye to Hope, our Summer Program Director. She has been such an enormous part of the culture this summer, of motivating and inspiring the staff. She has kept them laughing and kept them thinking more about their place here. She made her rounds to everyone, trying to spend some important moments with each person from kitchen staff to summer staff to maintenance, housekeeping, to the kids of staff members.  

Here at camp we say goodbyes regularly. The longest a group will stay with us will be a week. There is simultaneously a sadness and a celebration for the time spent when you have a camp goodbye. The memories of the past stretch of days come rushing back to you. You realize the friendship you've creating in such a small bit of time. You are inspired by what you've seen but also afraid you may never capture something like it again. Stuff like this is where terms like "bitter-sweet," originated, I'm sure. We know there is a change very soon when these goodbyes announce themselves. 

Friday we did our last worship together as a summer staff. David Hurd of Bay City UMC visited to consecrate communion for us. Our group was much smaller than when we began, but communion feels special to me, even in a small group. It marks this special thing that we share together. We are certainly very different, some of us, but we have shared much this summer. We've been given similar chances to do something special, something powerful. We've stood, side-by-side, watching it unfold in front of us. We've eaten at this table together. As we took in the elements, a layer of fog was rolling in from the ocean. The air is changing. We are changing too. 

After Saturday supper, Joelle and Laura will leave, and we will be back at our retreat staff. Joelle will make the long journey back to her home in Florida. Laura will start classes at OSU. Hope will soon move all here belongings to new surroundings in Colorado. And the rain the clouds will take up more stable residence here at camp. We have just about packed up the trampoline into an area of a few square feet. The summer will soon be a memory completely. We will mark these days with many of these memories. They will remind us of the year and the month they happened. I hope too that they will remind us who we were and who we want to be. That the good work here would be multiplied and grow.

This weekend we host the Delphian School, Linfield College Choir, Portland State Ambassadors, and a Men's Group. Keep them in your prayers, that their time may be filled with God's peace.