Today was an unusual day in the history of the Bishop’s Pilgrimage because there was no “pilgrimaging”. Due to the scheduling of the Provincial Synod in two weeks, it was necessary to begin this year’s walk early. It meant that Diocesan Council had to be placed at this time. The result was that we gathered here at Camp Brookwood for a day-long business meeting. We have met here several times over the years and it is always a joy to come.
This evening Trevor and I had the opportunity to walk some of the 25 acres which make up the camp. It is largely wooded with a beautiful stream running along one edge. The dappled sunlight coming through the trees made an enchanting setting for some brief muscle stretching to keep us in shape. Brookwood is on multiple levels with a ball field on the lowest level and the cabins, chapel and cookhouse gathered around a fire pit and flagpole at a higher elevation. There is also a swimming pool, basketball court and a volleyball area.
Today our lunch was cooked by some of the board members from the camp, along with Trevor. They are very enthusiastic about this facility and spend many hours keeping things in good shape. The camp is slowly ramping up for the summer season. There are 35 campers registered thus far which is a little ahead of the curve. The camp is small with about 28 spaces per week. It is ideal for children who might find a larger camp intimidating.
We may ask what is the value of camping ministry in this day and age? After Council, Trevor and I had a very important engagement at JC Sharkey’s bar and grill. There was an important soccer game, the European Cup Final, featuring Liverpool and Real Madrid. A table had been booked for us and when we arrived there was already a significant number of Madrid fans present. Two people from the parish came with us, but we were the only ones rooting for Liverpool. Sadly, for us, due to two terrible goalkeeping errors and a world-class overhead kick, Madrid won.
What does this adventure have to do with camping ministry? Our server asked who we were and what we were doing here. I explained that I am the Bishop of Fredericton and told her that we were staying at Camp Brookwood. Her eyes immediately lit up, “that was where I used to go when I was a kid”. She said. It held good memories for her and had planted some seeds.
During Council today we spoke about intentional discipleship. That is a complicated term for living as a Christian every day. As I spoke with our server (I do know her name) I wondered what would draw her towards Jesus today? She was clearly affected by her experience at Camp when she was younger. It is this type of question we have to continue to ponder and act upon if we are to be more effective in our Gospel ministry.