Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Lessons of Royal Family Kids Camp

Wasn’t it wonderful this past Sunday to look around our sanctuary at the excited volunteers who are leading Royal Family Kids Camp this year? It was just as exciting on Monday morning to see the children getting ready to head for camp. I told the camp staff on Sunday night when I and former FCC minister and RFKC staff member Tom Russell led communion for them, “I am really proud to be the minister of a church that does this kind of important ministry. One of the reasons I came to First Christian was because I read about Royal Family Kids Camp. I figured that any church that would carry out Jesus’ command to care for those whom society considers to be “the least of these” in such a tangible way would be a church that I would want to be a part of.”

We have much to be proud of as a church in regards to Royal Family Kids Camp. For fifteen years, our church has organized this ministry to abused and neglected children. As a faith community, we need to celebrate this good work, and we must especially appreciate the work of Sandy Hamlin who has served as camp director throughout RFKC’s history at our church. In addition to Sandy’s hard work, there are many others who deserve gratitude for making this camp a reality over the years.

I told Sandy that I was very happy that she took the time in yesterday’s worship service to recognize so many of the folks who have made the camp happen in its past and present versions. As a newcomer to FCC, it was wonderful for me to see that Chuck and Carol Mullican and Janet Pullen were apart of the original conversations about the camp. Likewise, it was nice to know about the work of longtime volunteers like Ken Hamlin, Ray Bililey, Marion Kearnes, Bernard and Marilyn McMillen, Tom and Annamarie Alden and so many others. How exciting it was to see different church members using their own particular talents to help the effort, such as Reva Fields working to get the word out about the camp to social workers and Lynn Tushaus coordinating meals for the week. Also, I found myself wishing that I had been around to watch each year as young people like Kristen White and Will Tushaus have matured and taken on greater leadership roles each year. Add to these folks past volunteers who cannot participate this year and the many church members who have contributed financially and materially and you get what really is a total church effort.

(The trouble with naming names of people who have helped with such a large undertaking like RFKC is that you inevitable leave someone out who has made an important contribution. I am sure that I have done so here. Please chalk such an omission up to the fact that I am new to RFKC and don’t take my mistake personally. You know the good work you have done and so does the rest of the church. I’ll catch on eventually.)

There are many important lessons that we as a church can learn from reflecting upon such an exciting ministry, but here are two I’d like to highlight;

1. The many different ways church members contribute to RFKC each year demonstrates the truth of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians about the body of Christ. In his anatomical metaphor, Paul notes how each part of the body is necessary to the whole body’s health. He notes also that Christ is the head of the body. When we allow Christ to truly lead us in caring for others in need, each one of us, no matter our limitations, can contribute our part to making the grace of God a reality in our world. The success of RFKC should be a microcosm of the church as a whole in terms of how we work together towards a common goal.

2. Royal Family Kids Camp began at First Christian when a few people had a vision for making it happen. Instead of merely voicing a good idea and then letting that idea float away, they chose to act upon it and make it happen. This is also true in the case of other exciting ministries of our church, such as the Jamaica mission trip. These ministries stand as proof that God can speak to ordinary people about a way of changing the world around them through their church.

Obviously, there are plenty of other hurting people in our community and world, and just as obvious is the fact that God is still ready to speak to others about how to address those needs. What is God trying to say to you?

May God bless Royal Family Kids Camp and all of the ministries of First Christian Church.

Grace and Peace,


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