By Kristin Devine-Mueller
In this unusual season of life, I have welcomed different activities that bring some sort of change from the normal routine, no matter how small that change may be. When I started reading about Covenant Harbor’s Family Getaway program, I caught a glimpse of how our family could change up the routine, take somewhat of a summer vacation in a relatively safe way, and bring about a change that would renew and refresh us all. We signed up for the Family Getaway from July 12-18, and we were blessed and delighted with our time away!
Camping ministry has been a part of my walk with Christ since I was in junior high, and it’s taken various forms over the different seasons of my life. I love taking kids to camp, and when I realized that I could spend a week at camp with my own kids, I knew this was a chance to create some sweet and special memories with my 3 & 7 year olds.
I find that the rhythm of life at camp is so different than home, which creates this sacred space for people to interact with each other and not worry about everything that has to be done in a day. I’m surrounded by God’s creation, so it’s impossible not to marvel at the works of God’s hands! Rather than drive from place to place, in a camp environment you get everywhere by walking. These frequent walks meant shared giggles with my son, listening to the voice of my daughter as she is learning to express herself more and more, and the holy silence of a quiet wooded area. At camp, I felt more present with my kids than I had in many of our moments at home simply because everything else drops away, and I marvel at these little people whom God has entrusted to my care.
My husband Glen wasn’t able to travel with us – we are thankful that he is now working full-time, but it also meant that he didn’t have any vacation time to join us. At first I was worried about traveling with the kids on my own, but when I realized that camp was going to take care of all our meals, I realized that this was a getaway I could handle! You do have to pay extra for meals each day, but breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all available. Best of all, I didn’t have to wash a single dish!
Covenant Harbor is located right on the shore of Lake Geneva, in Wisconsin, and my family took advantage of the waterfront time each day. We swam in the lake every day, Sunday through Friday, and we also took two different boat rides during the week. Eric Anderson, the current Interim Executive Director of Covenant Harbor, and his wife Cherith took us out on the lake for a short tour and a chance to swim off the boat. They welcomed each family personally throughout the week, and they are making it their mission to get each family out on a boat tour during their Family Getaway stay.
The highlight of my son’s week was our second boat ride, where he rode on a banana boat for the first time! The banana boat is an inflatable tube that can seat up to 8 people and gets towed along behind a faster boat. Inevitably, it turns and hits a wave just right, and many of the riders are dumped into the lake (with life jackets on, of course). My son was terrified of going fast, so he kept giving the “thumbs down” signal for going slower. He had a blast riding at the slower pace, and was just as thrilled to join us in the motor boat and watch the others go fast and eventually get knocked into the water!
As part of the Family Getaway, we stayed in a cabin at Covenant Harbor from Sunday afternoon through Saturday morning. We were blessed to stay in one of the new Kishwauketoe cabins, or “Kish” for short. We had 12 bunks, our own private dorm-style bathroom, and a really fun loft where the kids could hang out and play. Families can stay in a cabin entirely on their own, but we chose to invite some friends along and were so glad that we did!
There is still availability for a Family Getaway time through August 13 at Covenant Harbor. While I know many won’t be able to make last minute plans and head to camp in the next week, I wanted to share our experience because it’s very possible that a program like the Family Getaway week will continue into the fall. Our Covenant camps weren’t able to host their traditional summer programs which directly impacts their financial situation. By participating in the Family Getaway program, we can help support our camps while also changing up the rhythm and routine for our own families.
We don’t know what the fall will bring. We don’t know if we will have further seasons of remote school and remote work ahead of us. If your family does end up in a situation where you can work from anywhere, as long as you have internet access, I encourage you to consider spending some time at Covenant Harbor. I’ll be sure to keep you informed if they add on some fall Family Getaway weeks! I’d love for you to have the opportunity to take a deep breath and enjoy God’s creation, just as we did.
By: Pastor Stacey Littlefield
Renovaré is an organization dedicated to the art of spiritual formation in followers of Jesus. Chris Hall, president of Renovaré, recently wrote a brief reflection on the challenges they are facing. His observations speak to us all, however, not just those involved at Renovaré. I encourage you to read his gentle and faith-focused words as encouragement for us all.
By Kurt Kincanon
Great News! ECC’s Missions Commission is delighted to share that Perspectives is coming to the Greater Lafayette area due to a multi-church partnership. A leadership group, made up from multiple churches, have been working to bring Perspectives on the World Christian Movement Class - A Journey into the Heart of God for All Peoples back to the Lafayette area this fall. This renowned and life-changing class is a powerful opportunity to immerse yourself in God's work around the world by hearing each week from expert speakers brought in from all over the region. Perspectives helps believers from all walks of life see how they can get threaded into God’s story of redeeming people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to Himself. I know from conversations I have had with others who have participated in the class that Perspectives will challenge and inspire you to think differently about world missions and global engagement.
Here are what a few Christian leaders have to say about it:
“Perspectives is, in my experience, the single best discipleship course to mobilize the church to God’s mission.” J.D. Greear, Pastor, The Summit Church of Raleigh-Durham
“The Navigators routinely used Perspectives with the students in our ministry. Without a doubt, Perspectives played a huge role in helping our student friends develop an informed world-view, a deepened passion for Christ and specific plans to do their part in taking the good news of Christ into the nations!” Mike Jordhal, Navigators
“The whole world will be reached with the gospel when the whole church gets involved. Perspectives is one of the keys that God is using everywhere in the Great Commission.” Loren Cunningham, YWAM
“We value our partnership with Perspectives. Their leadership discipleship tools have helped our members to discover how they can effectively become a part of the global Christian movement.” Dr. Tony Evans, Sr Pastor, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, Dallas TX
The Missions Commission strongly encourages you to find out more about this opportunity and take the time to pray about your participation in it. ECC’s Missions Commission is offering assistance with the tuition for Covenant members and attenders who complete the class. Check out all the information at http://perspectives.org/lafayette and share it with anyone you know who may be interested. Join us to learn to "use what's in you to bless the world around you." Questions can be directed to me at the church office (765) 474-4842 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jorden Meyers
It seems the world is filled with constant transitions and adjustments in this season and the offices at ECC are changing too. It is with sadness and anticipation that we announce that Carol Smith will be concluding her time on staff here at ECC this month. Will you join us in celebrating Carol's ministry here at ECC and join us in wishing her well in this next exciting chapter of life. Use the comments of this blog post to celebrate Carol with a memory, prayer, or piece of advice.
Let us pray this prayer together:
God, you have called us into being through love. You have joined us to one another in love. How good and pleasant it is when you people dwell together in unity.
Shine your light upon your people that we can see the glory of eternal life. Grant Carol Smith the strength to carry your blessing from this place to the next. May she be at home in any land, for all the earth is yours. And, with her hopes set on your coming glory in the world, live also as an alien in all lands. May the lamp of your word guide her feet on the unsure paths of life.
Grant Carol a deeper fullness of being and spirit, by carrying our memory with her in the coming journey. May her face be fuller in glory and joy, now bearing new shape, as our faces transform and supplement one another.
We pray for Carol to go in the peace of Christ to love and serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God! Amen
Read Carol's letter of resignation below.
Carol's Exit Letter
By Carol Smith
Dear ECC Attenders,
I want to start by saying that ECC has been my church for my entire adult life and I owe much of my spiritual growth to the leadership and the people of the church. My journey started 21 years ago as a young single mother. I was welcomed with open arms. Justin, Dave (my soon to be husband) and I were accepted even though we did not look like a typical family. 18 years ago, I started serving the youth through VBS skits, teaching Sunday School, and eventually serving as a youth leader. After Ara Koliantz began his journey in Detroit as lead pastor, I stepped in as the youth director.
About a year ago I began to sense a restlessness and began to pray about what that was. I sought counsel from a spiritual coach, prayer warriors, and my family. I asked them to hear me and pray alongside me on what to do with this restlessness. God showed up in my prayers and my trusted counsel. It has become clear that it is time for me to move on from youth ministry at ECC. I am moving into starting a new path in my life that serves not only my gifts but my family, as well. I believe because God has made this very clear to me that it is also what is best for ECC.
Please know that this was not an easy decision nor was it a decision that was taken lightly. My heart grieves over this ending but know that God also has given me peace about the decision. I imagine, many of you will have questions about the why, the when, and what is next for ECC Youth. The leadership is working hard to develop the plan to move forward. I am not moving out of the area as my family is still connected to school and work here. I would be honored to answer any questions you might have. Please reach out for clarity.
Thank you for loving my family and I for so many years. I would appreciate your prayers as we listen to the Spirit and God’s direction in our lives.