Last weekend I was blessed to attend a retreat at Camp Stevens with diocesan colleagues who work in Children’s and Youth Ministry. I am not sure I have enough superlatives in my vocabulary to do justice to the beauty of the locale or the richness of the experience.
The weather in Julian was picture-perfect—crisp and chilly, just like the autumns I remember growing up back east. The sun was bright and slanted at the exact angle to remind me Fall is fleeting so now is the time to enjoy it. The night sky exploded in stars.
We were fed with beauty, connection, support, creativity, fun, prayer, worship, and incredible food. And we got to feed chickens and goats. Some participants brought their children, and I delighted in hiding my water bottle from a sticky-fingered toddler and wondering over big questions about God with her older sisters. Along with another colleague’s teenage sons, they reminded me who I am ministering to and how different, delightful, and challenging they can be.
I also talked to other parents about their young-adult children and got cozy in the reminder of how different, delightful, and challenging they can be too. We shared resources, learned about Las Posadas, made paper flowers, and laughed. We laughed a lot. And did I mention the goats?
If you haven’t worshiped outside with a toddler laughing and charging the altar lately, I highly recommend it. And if you haven’t been fed with rest and self-care recently, I recommend that even more. I’m excited to explore new ideas and expend some of my newly recovered energy on the playground with your children.
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