CedarS new “Bible Lands Park” (BLP)
What exactly is this new “Bible Lands Park”?
CedarS Bible Lands Park (BLP) is a walk-though, scale model of the Bible Lands with connected activities to experience first-hand how the Bible and its lessons relate to our lives. BLP is meant to be a fun place and an organized, teaching tool for campers, staff and all visitors to learn about the Bible and its spiritual sense with insights from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The scale of BLP is 1 yard = 1 mile. The distance from Beersheba to Mt. Hermon in Israel is about 166 miles (about the distance from CedarS to the St. Louis airport), so from South to North, CedarS Bible Lands Park is 166 yards or about 500 feet. With stone-carved monuments marking its significant towns, mountains and bodies of water, Bible Lands Park will be a permanent feature at CedarS that will serve as a year-round resource for Bible Lesson study, seminars and visitors of all denominations. CedarS original Whippoorwill Spring Branch that flows into and out of Crown Lake, now also flows into BLP’s “Sea of Galilee” and out of it as our own “Jordan River” and “Dead Sea”.
Why is CedarS doing this?
It is all about spiritual growth! This is a perfect opportunity for CedarS “campers” of all ages to get more meaning and applications from the stories and ideas they study in the Bible. Now they will have memories of places, people and props to refer back to when they read about significant biblical events and ideas. A pertinent, polished pericope (per-IK-o-pee), or short, stand-alone Bible story or verse will be shared verbally (sometime via a thematic “Bible Training Card”) as a pre-tour “met” designed “to give each camper an appreciation of (its) spiritual sense”. We intend to give each camper the 2nd half of CedarS stated purpose –“an abundance of wholesome, joyous activity”—in the form of hands-on activities connected to BLP. The attached map shows areas for: “Bible Lands Digs” (for meaningful, “planted” artifacts); a Bible Time-line Climb-Line to our biblical caves to show their hidden lessons; a tented Tabernacle & Village to reenact significant ideas in biblical settings; a biblical garden and pasture of visiting farm animals to easily illustrate agricultural imagery. Without ever leaving camp property and without a passport and the other expenses and issues involved in international travel, CedarS campers, staff and visitors can make a quick stop in “Jerusalem” or “Nazareth” to hear a Bible story and to “dig deeper” for its present day applications before heading off to breakfast, lunch or another CedarS activity! Our maps, “guidebooks” & trained staff will seek to orient our guests and inspire them with take-home lessons.
Where is BLP located?
Bible Lands Park is conveniently located at the core of the CedarS CampS—which is fitting given the centrality of Ruth Huff’s founding Biblical guidance to nurture “the cedars of Lebanon, which He hath planted.” (Ps. 104:16) CedarS Bible Lands Park is nestled in the valley just below Crown Lake. It’s a short walk or ride from Mary’s Chapel and Dawn Lodge.
How did CedarS BLP get started and how and when will it make its Grand Opening debut at CedarS?
In 2005 & 2006 Gary Duke, C.S., one of CedarS visionary Board of Trustees, visited a model about half the size of CedarS BLP in Chautauqua, NY. This “Palestine Park” was built by the Methodists in 1874. A narrated walking tour of it inspired the Duke family, as it has fascinated thousands of all ages, with a greater depth of biblical context. So, in a new-idea-sharing session at CedarS Annual Board Meeting in October 2008, Gary proposed that CedarS build our own scale model of the Bible Lands. At the time Warren had been working on a special TMC Youth Sunday School Committee to develop ways to help bring Christian Science Bible Lessons to life for our youth. He immediately embraced this idea and project as a great means to this end that would also help fulfill CedarS mission, bless our Movement and demonstrate to our neighbors and to the world what Bible-based Christians we Christian Scientists are. Warren saw the “divine design” of how the consistent stream of Whippoorwill Spring water flowing from Crown Lake could become a perfect Jordan River flowing through a 1 yard=1 mile scale model of the Bible Lands in the valley below Crown Lake. Before a November 2009 CedarS Board visit to camp, Warren asked Tom Evans to draw up and stake out a scale model of where the bodies of water, mountain ranges and cities of the Bible Lands would be located in order to help CedarS Board visualize this also. In March 2010 with initial funding in place, work was begun by “Great Views” (Chris Moyle’s company) on Stage 1 of Bible Lands Park. We hope that funds will be in place by CedarS 50th Anniversary in 2011 to begin and complete the Stage 2 addition of our “Mediterranean Sea” that will serve CedarS campers as a long-hoped-for, onsite Ski Lake! In the meantime, as of May 2010, we have our own Sea of Galilee, Jordan River and Dead Sea! Most “mountain moving” around our Jordanian core was completed on Memorial Day 2010. Stone markers will label key site location before they appear in the Christian Science Bible Lesson during the summer of 2010. During this summer campers and staff will enjoy exploring Stage 1 of Bible Lands Park, starting with some Precamp staff training sessions there. On 6-11-10 Chet Manchester will deliver part of our first Christian Science youth lecture in BLP called “Hiking the Sermon on the Mount”.