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A note from the Pastor

Who knew that when I met my first member of the First Moravian Church of Riverside New Jersey, that 25 years later, I would be serving as the pastor of that congregation. I certainly didn’t anticipate that at 9 years old I would be a pastor or that I would one day serve the home congregation of people I knew as children as well. My journey at Camp Hope started at a young age when I first stepped onto the property. The next year, I went to swimming camp and the following year, I started Troubadour. Who knew what impact that would have on my life. Every year, I returned to Hope. It was a given. Family vacations were structured around when I would go. Who knew that being a part of Troubadour, or Performing Arts Camp, would impact papers I wrote in seminary making connections to the arts and spiritual growth. Who knew that sitting on the shore of Little Silver at The Pointe, I would feel God calling me to a life of ministry service. Who knew that sitting in the Lower Lodge I would preach my first sermons and plan my first worship services. Who knew that sitting in those same worship services, I would hear the voice of God clear as a bell telling me “ordained ministry” was what I was being called to. Who knew... The answer is God knew. God knew the who, the where, the when, and thankfully I let it unfold in my life. Camp Hope taught me to trust in what God was doing in my life even when I couldn’t see what was going to happen next. My colleague, the Rev. Kerry Krauss, taught me that at Sr/Post High when he organized a blindfolded faith walk along the shore of Little Silver. Guided by a rope, climbing over picnic tables, and through trees, you had to trust that you were going to be safe. Suddenly, the rope disappeared. I remember freezing and then hearing Kerry’s voice calling me forward. He took my hand and told me exactly where to put my feet. You could hear the water. I was told to take the blindfold off and when I opened my eyes, I gasped. I was standing on the water. I was led onto a plank that jutted into the water and I was standing on the water. Like the disciple Peter, I had to trust and believe I wouldn’t fall. I wanted to stand there all day. Ben, Jenny, Steve, maybe you remember that moment too... you may have been there that year as well. Camp Hope is my grounding place. It’s my place of serenity and center. It’s the place where I received more understanding and forgiveness than I could have ever hoped for in my life. Now that I’m a wife, a mom and a pastor, I continue to return to camp every year because the experience of transformation and renewal happens constantly for us. I hope you will take some time to read about what is going on at Camp Hope and encourage the people in your life to give their time, their energy, and yes, even their money, to this important place. This year, Camp Hope will celebrate 75 years of ministry and mission. Let’s make sure it continues beyond the next 75 years transforming and shaping the lives of all people who walk the grounds. Come for the Memorial Day Camp or the picnic on Memorial Day itself. Go to the 75th Anniversary Celebration on June 25. Young Adults, go to the mission week for the whole week or for a day. Sign up as a counselor or a camper. There are so many ways you can be involved. I hope you take the opportunity to do so. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” So the answer to my first question, God knew. I’m along for the journey. On that journey, I will continue to choose HOPE.

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