|Strength for the Future|
|Since early March, Holmes Camp – like all of us – has been adapting to our new reality amid the challenges of the pandemic, forcing massive shifts in the ways we interact and serve. Prudent regulatory restrictions have meant cancellations of many beloved in-person programs yet have also inspired new and innovative directions for Holmes Camp. Our virtual Sunday worship services have drawn thousands of viewers from around the country, our frequent newsletters and “friends” events have kept Holmes connections alive, and our online vacation Bible school this past summer has reached so many kids and families, just to name a few.|
As we enter the autumn, the Holmes Camp board of directors, in consultation with leadership of our three presbyteries, has taken a hard look at the landscape for the months ahead. Much uncertainty remains, even as infection rates improve and vaccines are developed. Like so many other industries where in-person presence is a key component, it is very difficult to predict timing for a return to normal as we plan out the months ahead.
The future of Holmes Camp is bright, with our blessing of beautiful surroundings and our new Agape building nearing completion, not to mention the passion of all those who have been transformed here on Denton Lake Road. As responsible stewards of God’s bounty, we must position ourselves for that exciting adventure ahead, emerging from this pandemic with strength for the future.
And so, the Holmes Camp board of directors has decided to drastically reduce staff and operations effective immediately, positioning ourselves for strength for the future, until there is more clarity. We feel deeply the impact this will have on our loyal and dedicated staff and will work with each of them with compassion during these difficult days. Of course, as the situation changes in our world, we will adapt and revise our plans in response, and will keep you close with us on our journey with updates on next steps.
We plan to continue our virtual experiences of camp like worship and newsletters, to permit individuals to enjoy day visits and personal retreats, and to respond to changing regulatory guidelines for overnight stays. We will continue to work with the groups who have rolled-over their plans and encourage our generous donors to continue their crucial support. We would love to think this “positioning for the future” will only last into the spring, but next summer’s in-person programming could also be impacted.
The Holmes Camp board, including presbytery leadership, are committed to rolling up our sleeves, filling in where needed, and keeping on top of developments. This sacred place has been through many iterations over its 75-year history. We are confident we will continue to serve our presbyteries and the world, transforming lives and inspiring service, for many decades to come.
Join us in our journey. In these unprecedented times, we need you more than ever and look forward to the time when it is safe to gather again. Stop in on our online worship, hike our trails, donate what feels generous, visit our website for a tour of our new building when it opens in early November, and volunteer your skills and gifts. The Holmes Camp board members, all listed on the camp website, stand ready to respond to any questions you may have as we move forward together. We treasure your support, as together we position Holmes Camp for strength for the future.
RESPONSE TO THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC
HOLMES CAMP AND RETREAT CENTER SUSPENDS PROGRAM FOR SUMMER 2020
For over 70 years, Holmes Camp has been a special place to generations of participants. Perhaps difficult to put in to words, the spirit and the people – shine through. People leave Holmes with the gift of memories and a living faith strengthened or realized through their time here. Throughout our history the safety of our campers, guests, and staff has always been at the forefront of everything we do. We feel called to continue that commitment, now more than ever.
After reviewing the recommendations of the American Camp Association, the CDC, and our local health and government officials, the Board of Directors, with my full support, has made the decision to suspend summer camp operations for the summer of 2020. We know that when it’s safe, the children and families of our community will need the ministry of camp now more than ever. So, we are working hard to adopt safety procedures, make plans, and alternative plans to meet every scenario when that day comes.
In the midst of this, our ministry is not stopping! I’m excited to share that Holmes Camp is innovating to support the church at this time. Here are a couple of those innovations that are already underway:
1. Once a month throughout the summer, we will produce a virtual worship experience at camp, that congregations can use to supplement their online virtual experiences. This will give vital rest to leaders in congregations, and share Holmes Camp with many who have never been.
2. We are producing 5 video segments, accessible to congregations across the region, to be used in Remote Vacation Bible Schools. These videos will be brief with instructions and activities based on our summer curriculum. Moving through the activities will take about an hour.
3. We are planning several virtual camp events (arts and crafts projects, nature exploration, camp programs) some live, some pre-recorded that will be available throughout the summer via social media, and other online venues.
4. Remaining a sanctuary for Presbytery church members to hike, fish (catch and release only please) and commune with nature. It’s a large, diverse and beautiful site.
And, there are more to come!
As of now, Holmes’ Autumn weekend events are still on.
To continue to make this ministry possible we need your support now more than ever. Please consider making a gift today to help ensure Holmes Camp is here tomorrow. You can make your gift, get the latest updates, and learn more about our procedures and schedule for re-opening at www.holmescamp.org.
Rev. Bryan S. Breault
Upcoming Events – View Fall Schedule
- Work Day/Musicians/Facebook/Save the Date
- Thank You Mylika/Work Day/Save the Date/Take a Hike
- Trail Clearing/Worship/Save the Date/Hike
- Sunday Worship/Trail Work/Thank You/Farm Stand/Save the Date
- Sunday Worship/Honey/Farm Stand/Agape 2
- Save the Date/Agape 2/Bridge
- Storm Isaias/Save the Date/Holmes Honey
- Friends Day/Kissing Bridge/Honey/Clergy’s New Normal