At its heart, the ministry of camps and conference centers is about formation. It is about creating a place of hospitality and welcome, a place where people can let down their guard and be more open to the transformative spirit of God moving among them and in their hearts. For so many of us in the Central Gulf Coast, Beckwith is precisely that. Whether we grew up going to camp there like Deputy Scott Remington and his children, or have been formed at retreats for the Episcopal Church Women (ECW), or have simply found a place to be with colleagues and grow together like the clergy who gather on the shores of Weeks Bay for clergy conferences, Beckwith is a touchstone for our diocese.
The ministry of Beckwith is one of the ways in which our diocese proclaims the Good News of God in Christ by welcoming so many who are not members of our churches for picnics, weddings, conferences, retreats, and the like. When you come to Beckwith, for many, you are coming home. Camp and conference centers around the Episcopal Church engage in this ministry and Monday, July 9 was camp day throughout General Convention. Deputies and bishops alike were decked out in T-shirts and other camp gear to demonstrate their commitment to the places where we hear the heartbeat of God and can attune our rhythms to God's time. The diocesan deputation gathered after our morning legislative session for a group photo at the Episcopal Camp and Conference Centers booth in the exhibit hall and then I had a chance to sit down and hear from Eleanor Reeves, our executive director for Beckwith and a member of the ECCC board.
During a lull in the afternoon legislative session, I had the opportunity to interview four of the women who have come for the ECW Triennial. While General Convention gathers, women from across the church come together for a simultaneous program of workshops, speakers, and fellowship. Their interview follows Eleanor's. Keep us in your prayers as the legislative calendar builds and we work increasingly long hours to accomplish the business of the church while we prepare to be sent forth to do the work God has given us to do. Blessings to you all,