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epaumc.org  |  Bishop’s Blog  |  pen-del.orgBishop’s Letter: Fundraising Appeal for Camps
August 27, 2020
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.   Jeremiah 29:11 (NRSV)
Greetings to the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Community.
It is my prayer that your summer has given you opportunities for worship, ministry with the poor, dismantling racism, and time for vacation. I appreciate so much the ways our pastors, lay members, and churches have continued to adjust to these ever-changing times and challenges. Through the Lord’s plans for your welfare, you have found a “way out of no way” in the strength of the Spirit.
It is with faith in the power of the Spirit that I write to you on behalf of our Camp and Retreat Ministries. We have four vibrant and unique camps–Carson-Simpson Farm Christian Center, Innabah, Gretna Glen and Pocono Plateau–that fall within the bounds of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference. They have long served as important mission extension outposts for our churches and the greater community. They are one of the most effective evangelism tools we have.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all four camps were forced to cancel many of their scheduled retreats and the weekly summer camps that so many children, families, staff, and volunteers look forward to. Thus, we have had to make very difficult, painful decisions around finances.
The federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans helped a great deal in the spring, and our Conference Council on Finance and Administration provided additional funds to help our camps cover their costs through the summer. But as we move into the fall, we know that trying to maintain even our most basic camp centers’ staff and services would result in a budget deficit.
Thus, I am asking you-churches, members, and friends of our Conference-to embrace a vision of what it would look like if every church would donate $300 to support our camp centers and avoid a budget shortfall. Such well-deserved generosity would help them with their already scaled-back payroll needs through the rest of this year and provide some funds to help them plan, resource, and launch a new year of exciting retreats and camping adventures in 2021.
This vision speaks to the power and possibilities of our United Methodist connection that makes us a Conference that is “United in Christ and Committed to Transformation.” I hope you will help us realize this vision, share it with others, and send in your gifts and even additional funds if you are able.
Please consider donating online, or send checks to the Treasurer’s Office, Eastern PA Conference, P.O. Box 820, Valley Forge, PA 19482. Please indicate Camp and Retreat Ministries in the memo line.
Our online options are: Use our new Giving page on our conference website (https://www.epaumc.org/administration/finance/giving/). There you can use the Annual Conference Giving menu to support Camp and Retreat Ministries.Churches can use their church remittances portal (#302). Use Text-to-Give at 610-463-0244. Use CAMP – Camp Retreat Ministry
Our Conference has been successful in paying down our pre-1982 clergy pension liability. I believe we can help our beloved camps in their time of need as well.
This unrelenting pandemic continues to present uncertain challenges to all of us now and into 2021. So, please consider donating through your second-mile giving to our Camp and Retreat Ministries, and help ensure that all our camps can have a bright “future with hope.” Also, I ask that you add prayers to your donations, as we consider future plans for our camps. We pray that they will not only survive but thrive once again in offering life-changing ministries to churches, families, and people of all ages.
Finally, please participate in the many online and onsite camp activities and family getaways that our sites are offering right now. They are carefully following safety guidelines but providing fun, food, fellowship, and plenty of adventures nonetheless.
And please begin to plan for your 2021 retreats and summer camp dates, as our sites prepare to welcome you when it is safe to return again next year.
Thank you, and may God bless you always for your prayers, your support, and your faithfulness in ministry.
Sincerely, Bishop Peggy A. Johnson