- With Christ as your omnipotent pulling partner you’ll never stress out, feel burdened!
- “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11: 29, 30
Gliding into the summer of 2011 on our newest addition to the Bible Lands Park, campers young and old are enjoying the freedom and inspiration of “cabling” across the west end of the Mediterranean. Campers of all ages are kayaking from Antioch around Crete and even approaching Alexandria. The addition of our Mediterranean Sea, “Little BRO” cable ski line, and kayaks add a whole new dimension to the campers’ ability to see and experience the “Bible Lands.” Often, as campers launch from the dock of “Little BRO” they can be heard declaring “I will be a peacemaker” or one of many other spiritual truths. These truths, and the instruction they are receiving from capable leaders, help our campers to soar across waters both choppy and calm.
(See an example here: http://cedarscamps.org/album/movie/movie.htm?y=2011&s=25719&mo=26030)
On the far side of Bible Lands Park (opposite to the Mediterranean) we have added both a Bible Lands Vineyard & Garden, as well as a Bible Timeline, called Time Travelers Trail (pictured left). On this path, each step campers take correlates to years in Biblical history and in a chronological ordering of Bible characters whose prayers were answered. In this “A.P. (Answered-Prayer), hands-on history course campers learn as they “travel through time” from Abraham in the Old Testament to Paul in the New Testament. Though these features are new to our camp, they have already blessed scores of eager learners, enriching their understanding of the Bible through practical experiences and take-home applications.
On Wednesday (7-14) campers went down to the Bible Lands Park and learned about what it means to put all their faith in God. They wandered in our CedarS ‘wilderness’ and considered what it would have been like for the children of Israel to wander in the desert for forty years. “I feel like I’ve gotten a better understanding of what it means to lean on God,” one camper commented. The children of Israel “really had to know that God was with them the entire time!” The campers stood on top of Mt. Nebo and looked across the Jordan River into the Promised Land, and began to understand what the children of Israel would have seen and felt at the time. As others have done, these campers also acted out the story of Joshua and the parting of the Jordan River and the faith the children of Israel had. By acting it out and seeing where it would have taken place, campers gained a deeper understanding of what it would have been like back in Biblical times, as well as finding ways to apply these lessons to their daily lives right now!
Adventures in Bible Lands Park!
Campers, staff, and visitors were introduced to CedarS new Bible Lands Park (BLP) for the first time during pre-camp and first session, 2010. Through interactive exploration and Bible story-based scavenger hunts, campers saw their favorite Bible characters come to life! This walk-through, scale model of the Bible Lands encourages campers, staff and visitors to really dive into the Bible stories and characters they read about in the lesson.
These characters included Joshua, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus as they guided, healed and taught people. Not only did the campers get to delve deeper into getting to know and love these spiritual figures and stories, they acted these stories out in the Bible Lands Park to show campers where and how it would have looked back then! Campers from each program were introduced to the Bible Lands Park through interactive stories and parables.
Adventure Bible Drama Camp (ABDC) acted out parables such as ‘the Good Samaritan’ and the ‘Prodigal Son’. Junior Leadership, along with one of the CedarS donkeys, helped bring the ‘Good Samaritan’ to life. Campers dove into the story and discovered the true meaning behind Jesus’ famous parable. Some of the stories the ABDC campers explored and shared with the rest of camp included Moses seeing the Promise Land from the top of Mount Nebo, and Elijah being cared for and watched over by an angel after he conquered the prophets of Baal. Using a replica of the Ark of the Covenant that was built by 1st session OCB campers, ABDC campers led the whole camp in acting out the story of Joshua and parting the Jordan River so that the children of Israel could cross safely into the Promise Land (and onto the buses headed to Big Surf Water Park).
Our current third session CedarS campers are exploring even more Bible stories, characters, and parables found in each week’s Bible Lesson. Stories like Jesus teaching his disciples to be ‘fishers of men’ (Matt 4:19), as well as the prophet Elijah and all his amazing healings and adventurous feats. With these stories campers will explore the ideas of supply and faith and find new ways to trust and interact with God.
This week’s Bible lesson on Life has many stories of the prophet Elijah and how he relied totally on God. Elijah was led to wake up and to heal many people and taught them and us how to put faith in the one true God. He was persecuted for his beliefs and the works that he did against the prophets of Baal, but each time things seemed bleak for Elijah, God came through and cared for him. Our metaphysical theme for CedarS this summer is ‘sustainability’, which ties in perfectly with the stories of Elijah found in this week’s lesson. God sustained, watched over, and cared for Elijah every moment of his life. Campers will go down to the Bible Lands Park and learn about him and all the amazing things he did in the name of God. By learning and seeing where events like Elijah being sustained in the wilderness and listening in the cave for the still, small voice after the earthquake, wind, and fire came, campers will learn to put total trust in God. CedarS own caves that overlook BLP provide an excellent place for campers to see where Elijah went to Mt. Horeb and found God’s presence in the calm after the storm. Campers can witness these Biblical events and really start to listen for God’s voice, free from distraction!
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”.
Yesterday was an awesome day at Family Camp! The first part of the day was spent going on Trips. Families were able to choose to go on the Caving Trip, the Float Trip, the High Ropes Trip, or the Bennett Springs Trip. All of these trips were amazing, so whichever one they decicded to go on, they had a blast! It was a great way to spend time with your family and bond with one another.
The Caving Trip had a great time climbing around inside a cave, the Float Trip paddled down a relaxing river, the Bennett Springs Trip learned about nature and got to feed fish, and the High Ropes Trip overcame challenges up on CedarS’ wonderful High Ropes Course. All of these trips were exciting in different ways, and everyone had a great time.
After their trips were finished, everyone headed back to camp for a lunch! We had “create your own Subway Day” which was a lot of fun and the sandwiches tasted delicious! The food at CedarS is always awesome, and there are so many options for you to choose from!
One counselor commented, “The one thing that I really like about CedarS CampS is the amount of fun you can have. They’re so many different activities you can do. You can do trampoline, go swimming, the rope swing, the zip line, you got sports, horseback riding, and you got everything you can possibly imagine. It’s really cool that we can do all of these activities in this awesome Christian Science atmosphere. You’re always being supported by Warren, by your counselors, and by all these awesome people here at CedarS.” –Hunter H.
In the afternoon families had a blast at the Water Front Extravaganza. There was swimming, zip lining, the waterslide, and much more! When it started raining a little, everyone headed to the covered back porch where ice cream was served and a game of basketball was played. And after a few minutes the rain had cleared up and the water activities began again!
Monday was quite a rainy day here at CedarS CampS, but that definitely did not stop all of the fun activities for Family Camp! Families had a great time participating in their choice of activities. There was horseback riding, printmaking, swimming, sports, archery, and even cartooning!
One counselor said, “I love family camp because during the year, some families don’t even get to spend time together. The father and mother come home from work and all they get to say is “goodnight.” But at family camp they get to do activities together as a whole family. They get to have meals together, and sometimes at home that doesn’t even happen. It just gives them a really good chance to spend quality time together. They also have power hour every day, and that gives them a chance, as a family, to talk about Christian Science. It’s just a really good bonding experience for all of the families here at CedarS.” – Gabby A.
The cool thing about Family Camp is that you can do things with your family whenever you want, but also the parents can do activities they want to do while their children do the activities that they want to do. When one camper was asked why she liked Family Camp she said, “There’s a lot of fun activities. There’s vaulting, which is gymnastics on a horse, which I think is really fun because I do gymnastics. There’s also archery and other stuff. And you also get to stay in cabins with your family which is a lot of fun.” – Hanna F.
At night we had an awesome campfire for all the families to attend. The kids had a great time riding the “Bucking Barrels”, and the parents sat around the fire roasting marshmallows, chatting, and being with their families. There’s nothing better than eating a perfectly made S’more! The night ended with some cool fire breathing followed by singing a hymn and then ending with the CedarS’ song. It was a great first day of Family Camp!
An awesome program that CedarS offers is Adventure Bible Drama Camp. In this program, campers get to learn more about the Bible. They learn about different Bible characters, time periods, and even new stories that they may have not heard before. Sometimes they even get to act out different stories and play Bible characters themselves. It’s a great way for them to be able to understand the Bible more by having adult specialists explain it to them in a fun and comprehensible way.
The specialist this session is Mike Hamilton, and he has been able to teach the campers a lot. Wherever you find him with his group, you find Bible period timelines written out in chalk, and maps to show the geography of the Bible times. Here is how Mr. Hamilton describes the program, “The idea was to try and give them a little bit of background appropriate to their ages in the Bible. First to learn about it as a book, you know, how it’s put together, it’s different parts, and then to learn a little bit about the history and get an idea of the geography. So we’re trying to do something a little different then the kind of instruction the kids would probably get in Sunday School. The reason for doing it really has just been that we thought that Biblical literacy is important. Well, you know how it is that you can read these passages in isolation, but if you don’t have a sense about how the whole thing fits together, it’s hard to make any sense of it or see kind of the progress of ideas. Of course the challenge of all this, is to make it applicable for both a 6-year-old and a 12-year-old. But we’ve made timelines and done other activities to try and get the kids to get a better understanding of how everything fits together”. – Mike Hamilton
CedarS encourages all its friends to a “Daily Lift” of a new 2-minute lecture each day from the Christian Science Board of Lectureship. You can sign up here or listen in as it was shared this morning during CedarS’ Practitioner Talk.
Meg Dendler also shares some spiritual lessons of childlikeness taught by tonight’s musical theater production of Peter Pan. You can see pictures of rehearsals and other camp activities here.
Today CIP did the high ropes course. CedarS CampS is very fortunate to have such a wonderful ropes course for the campers to enjoy. It’s a great way for campers to challenge themselves while also having a ton of fun. Campers are perfectly safe when they’re high up in the course because they are strapped into harnesses and have knowledgeable counselors to help them.
There are two different levels of the high ropes course, the lower level and the higher level. The lower level is a bit easier and has elements such as the “Train Tracks”. The Train Tracks are wooden boards that are spaced apart enough so that you have to reach out with your foot in order to reach the next board. You have to do so without holding on to anything. In order to complete the train tracks, and most of the elements, campers must overcome their fear of falling. Once they realize the hardest thing to overcome is the fear itself, they learn that they can easily complete the challenge.
The higher level is a bit more challenging, and has elements such as the log, where you have to walk along a thin log without holding on to anything. For campers who feel that they have done both the high and the low levels pretty easily and want more of a challenge, they can either blindfold themselves or tie their shoelaces together to make it more difficult.
To get back down to the ground, the only way down is to glide down the zip line! The campers are strapped into their harnesses, which are attached to the zip line wire. All they have to do is sit down and then lean forward and off they go! It’s an exhilarating way to finish the course!
CIP had a great time doing the high ropes course, and learned a lot about challenging themselves, and supporting their fellow campers. One camper commented, “I love the high ropes course because it’s a challenge for me to do the best that I can, and even if I get into a tight spot I have all of my friends to support me.” – Suzzanah G.