Well, it is official. UCCR will assume management responsibilities of Hartman Center, a camp and conference center of the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the United Church of Christ. I have a press release being issued later today….but in the meantime want to lift up the good news. I recently attended the Outdoor Ministry Association of the United Church of Christ and met Bruce Drukenmiller, the current director at Hartman. What a passionate guy who has loved Hartman well and good for many years. Bruce is going back into parish ministry in Pennsylvania in January. But I want to say an important word about the love our denominations have for their sites. At a time when the mainline church is struggling with keeping enough resources going to sustain regional and conference ministries, there is a felt-sense spirit of dedication to our sacred camps and retreat centers. Many church camp properties are on the auction block all across America. Financial constraints simply prevent the church from being able to keep the properties going.
I am honored to be working with UCCR at a time when we are able to help preserve these properties for the church, for the campers, for the thousands who are touched by these places. I have always said these camps and retreats are often the greatest outreach arms of hospitality that the church has in the world. Hundreds, even thousands of people are greeted and served in these hallowed woods. People who do not attend church. People who do not profess a religion. Yet they are served with warm food, beautiful trails, welcoming staff. Perhaps this is enough. Maybe even more than enough.