Ninety years ago, the heirs of Bishop C.M. Beckwith donated a 40 acre tract of land adjacent to Weeks Bay (near Fairhope, AL) to the Episcopal Church. Generations of young men and women have subsequently contributed their time, energy and fortune to turn this diamond in the rough into the beautiful Camp Beckwith facility we have today.
Camp Beckwith has been alternatively described as a beautiful retreat, a spiritual sanctuary and as God’s front yard. Each is appropriate and true. However, for the Episcopal Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, the description attributed to Dick Hooper (Christ Church, Pensacola) strikes me as most appropriate. Dick said “Beckwith is the glue which holds our Diocese together and brings us together to pray, work and learn."
I would add that Beckwith is a treasure available for all of us to share. Last year nine hundred youth campers spent a week there. Six thousand adults attended retreats. Beckwith has also hosted Cursillo for 40 years and much, much more. Camp Beckwith is in constant service to our Diocese. With such heavy traffic, even “God’s front yard” needs some occasional TLC.
That TLC is often organized for our Diocese by Warren Jerrems. This past weekend thirteen volunteers from Christ Church, Holy Cross, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Christopher and St. Johns were involved in carpentry, painting and sprucing up several Beckwith buildings.
Warren is so incredibly organized that I could hardly describe our work as difficult. Our instructions were precise and we were each encouraged to work at our own pace. That combination produced incredibly positive results (as the pictures show). And, we each left to the effusive gratitude of Eleanor Reeves, Camp Beckwith’s Executive Director, and her staff. We made a difference!
I am grateful to Warren and to John Griffing for inviting me to participate. I hope each church in our Diocese will consider sending a delegation to help the next time the call goes out. You can get additional information from Warren at 850-586-1030 or www.allianceseniorservices.com.
Camp Beckwith is part of our church heritage along the Central Gulf Coast. It is worthy of our support.