Spiritual growth doesn’t just happen in the splendid isolation of our prayer closets (whatever that might be!). Even for us introverts, spiritual growth is often jump-started in relationship with others. This is one reason that from the very beginning the church has set aside time and space for people to connect with God via their fellow believers.
Few of us are called to join a monastic community in the desert or mountain or downtown. We have been called to an active life – jobs and families and congregational activities and community events and sports and justice-making and service. But the more our lives are active, the more we need to nurture the spiritual foundations of that life: prayer, study, meditation, silence, caring conversation, finding ways to connect with God who is fount and source of the power that keeps us going. This is where short term retreats, studies, and conferences can nourish us. We gain wisdom, knowledge and strength from the programs and those who are our sisters and brothers even if but for a weekend, who join us in the experience. A single coal pulled out of a campfire swiftly runs cold, but when placed among the other coals they together make a fire to light and warm all those around.
Our Rocky Mountain Conference of the UCC is particularly blessed to have a wealth of opportunities easily accessible: our beautiful camp/conference center at LaForet in the Black Forest north of Colorado Springs. As generations of our youth will tell you, their summer youth camps, family camp, “Grandparents and Me” camp, and MADD [Music, Arts, Dance & Drama] Camp have been integral parts of their spiritual journey year after year. This year they are even planning a “Rainbow” camp for LGBTQQA+ youth!
More recently, LaForet has expanded to include more adult programs (and updated facilities more comfortable for those who aren’t into leaping into an upper bunk). This year, they are offering programs on racism and white fragility, communicating across the divides in our political discourse, the “School of Celtic Consciousness” with Philip Newell, Contemplative Camp, and different OWL (human sexuality) leaders trainings.
You can find all these and more information in their awesome new online brochure. Be sure to thank their program director the Rev. Logan Bennett and their Executive Director (Plymouth member) Larry McCulloch for organizing such a wonderful place and programs!
Rev. Dr. Mark Lee
Director of Christian Formation (Adults)
Mark recently celebrated his tenth anniversary as Plymouth’s Director of Christian Formation for Adults. He also serves as chair of the Platte Valley Associations’ Committee on Ministry.