This past weekend Debbie and I spent time with the boys at one of our favorite places in the world, the Warren W. Willis United Methodist Camp in Leesburg. We were there for one of our family's favorite rituals; The Clergy Kids and Family Retreat.
Camp is a sacred place for me. My first experience at the Warren Willis Youth Camp was in elementary school as a church camper. I started coming to camp for a week each summer every year after that and loved it! Debbie has equally special memories attached to the camp from her experiences growing up and later as serving as a Summer Camp Counselor for a year. So when we heard in 2010 that there was a special weekend at camp for Clergy Kids we jumped at the chance to not only spend some time with our boys, but to also introduce our boys to our special place. Before we went to our first retreat in 2011, hanging out with other clergy kids and pastors was just a bonus in our minds.
But we very quickly realized that this is a special community of folks. The kids look forward ALL year long to coming together and hanging out with one other....because at Clergy Kids they build an attachment to a place (camp) that is always theirs no matter where their parents might move in the conference and they build relationships with friends that they will never lose no matter where their parents might move in the conference. That's a significant investment we want to keep giving our boys.... a network of support from people who know the unique challenges you face when your mom and/or your dad is the pastor of a church. One of the highlights every year is the candlelight ceremony that takes places as part of Saturday night worship. This is a time where we recognize our graduating seniors, pray over them, and give them a chance to share what this retreat has meant to them over the years. This year we also incorporated those transitioning from middle to high school and elementary to middle school. This is always a very moving part of our worship together and this year was no exception.
One of the most special gifts that Clergy Kids gives us as a family is a chance to worship together. While Parker, Wesley, Davis, Debbie and myself are all in a sanctuary during worship each Sunday, Debbie and I do not get to sit with them to help them process what's happening. This past weekend we had several different worship times where we were all able to be together and worship as a family.
This was our seventh Clergy Kids retreat. We're invested enough in Clergy Kids that we help plan themes for the guest speakers and the kids' times as well as heavily promote it to all the Clergy Families that we know. This year there were several new families who joined us and we had one of our larger gatherings with 60 folks there.
Thank you for allowing us the time away to participate in Clergy Kids and make this very important and lasting investment in the lives of our children.
Have a great week!