Announcing the 2018 Hero of Camping, Lisa Kimball
On July 9, at General Convention in Austin, Texas, Bishop Brian Prior presented Lisa Kimball, Associate Dean at Virginia Theological Seminary the 2018 Hero of Camping Ministry Award. For a transcript of Lisa’s remarks, see below.
The funny thing is in 1988 [when ECCC was founded], I was not in third grade, I was well out of college and on my way into the vocation that I claimed very dearly, as a lay Christian formation leader, now Associate Dean of Virginia Seminary.
What I just want to say to all of you is it's never too late. I actually never went to summer camp as a kid, because I grew up in Europe, and they didn't send me to summer camp. So, my first experience of summer camp was as an adult, and was being brought in as a volunteer camp counselor, and it has truly changed my life, as well as all the conferences and convention meetings, and leadership events that we've held at Camp and Conference Centers across the Episcopal Church. I don't know if any of you put your stickers on the map, in the ECCC booth, but I ran out one sheet, and I had to go into another sheet because so many of our host facilities have been great places of my learning.
What I do want to commend us to recognize, is that the immersive experience in Christian formation, that happens when people have the privilege of time away, time in a quiet place with God, time in community with others in a Christian context, is essential for all of us in the 21st century. We move quickly, we think fast, we are hyper-connected, and if you could see my shirt, it says "Log on, crash and reboot." The log on is a fireplace, the crash is a tent, and the reboot are some hiking boots.
I commend to you the issues of access, and support for our Camp and Conference Ministries, for some cultural communities, going to summer camp is not a normative experience. So, for us to assume that everyone wants to go, or understands the benefit thereof, is naive. But, there are ways for us to invite people into that experience appropriately. Perhaps, a one day, half day, family event at your local Camp and Conference Center. Perhaps a one day sort of immersive vacation Bible school experience for children, with the right adults and community, and then grow into an overnight, and then experience a retreat for older adults, perhaps a chance for people who are aging and in transition in their lives, to come to a place of rest and respite. Think about access for people with special needs, think about access for people who do not have economic means to just pay for these experiences. We all need them, and they indeed are holy, holy opportunities for spiritual growth.
So, as we practice the way of love, may we practice it deeply in community. In places of retreat and mutual regard, that I would call Episcopal Camps and Conference Centers. So, thank you for this award. I'm very honored.