BY SARA KEDDY
Kings County Advertiser/Register
Those who travel many miles to not miss the annual Berwick Camp Meeting are making a real effort as the 139th encampment approaches to include those “closer to home.”
“We have been much encouraged by the growing participation in Berwick Camp Meeting in the last few years - folks from so many local churches, along with many individuals from the local area,” says Cheryl Hartlen, a volunteer who helps get the word out about each year’s camp meeting events.
“Just like in the days of old, when we literally had folks from near and far coming with horse and buggy, counting into the many thousands for worship!
“We hope you will all join us this summer under the hemlocks.”
The theme this year is “Settling into the Promise.” The Berwick Camp Meeting runs July 23 through August 1.
Highlights include yoga daily at 2 p.m. under the towering hemlocks, coffee with Gordon evenings at 6:30 p.m., a dining hall sing-along after evening worship, vespers services at 10 p.m., the Wednesday United Church Women gathering and the camp meeting association’s annual meeting Thursday afternoon.
This year’s evangelist is Rev. Dr. Catherine MacLean of St. Paul’s United in Edmonton. She was born and ordained in the Maritimes, and more recently earned a Doctorate of Ministry in Preaching with a thesis, Dusting off the Doctrine.
Youth leadership is provided by Rev. Dr. Andrew and Jenny O’Neill- longtime campers - who this year return with baby Jonathan.
Bible study and theology for tomorrow facilitator is Rev. Dr. Tom Sherwood, to 2009 the only full-time religious professional for 20,000 students at Carleton University. He is now in a three-year research project for the United Church of Canada, “Listening to the echo,” a reference to the Echo Generation, a cohort of young adults sometimes called by the church the “missing generation.”
Music leadership is provided by Stephen Spencer and The Message.
The 7:30 a.m. morning side leader is a Valley native, Rev. Dr. Ida Armstrong Whitehouse, who is originally from Kingston and now pastor at Bedford Baptist. She and her family have been at camp for over 100 years.
The daily worship service July 23 through July 31 is at 7:30 p.m., with July 25 and Aug. 1 Sunday services at 10 a.m.
The week’s Vacation Bible School is open to elementary-aged campers and the community, with a second level planned for those from grade 7 through 12. Registration and a fun time is planned for 3 p.m. July 25 to get things started.
Hartlen says visitors are welcome for services, programs and just to come into the camp itself.
“Somewhere along the way in the last 139 years, we went from almost all the local churches closing on camp Sundays so the congregations could go en masse to worship under the hemlocks with the campers, to now hearing ‘We have no idea what happens behind those gates’ or ‘We didn’t know we could go in.’
“Please feel free to come and walk around the grounds, enjoying with us the spiritually-charged peaceful nature of these grounds we treasure so.”