"Every season is one of becoming, but not always one of blooming. Be gracious with your ever-evolving self." — B. Oakman
Oakman's quote resonated with me because of our current season at Bethelwoods and for me. The act of becoming has been a new area I have explored in the past year, whether in casual reading or preparation for a sermon. This concept comes from process philosophy (or theology), which focuses on the interconnectedness of reality and how our environment, friends, families, and ourselves change, which is how we come to experience the world. In process philosophy, change is fundamental to ordinary, everyday life and the formation of our identity.
Following several years of attempting to return to normal, Bethelwoods, like myself, is becoming influenced by the experiences of change from the past several years. As a newcomer this past summer, I kept my eyes and ears open, looking and listening to the sights and sounds of the campers, staff, and the beauty of God's creation. Amid my observation, I saw traditions still being held onto that harken back to the days of the covered wagons. On the flip side, I saw a newness spurred on by new and old staff members and campers alike. Both tradition and newness were at odds with one another, but even with friction between them, both are necessary for the process of becoming. I saw this best showcased in our deliberate gracious shifting for our night activities, free-time blocks, arts and crafts activities, and especially during worship.
One memory that makes me laugh from this summer was a camper from week six who asked me why we were doing a counselor hunt on Tuesday night when it was usually done on Wednesday or Thursday night. I responded to them by saying, "Well, you know, sometimes things and plans change, but we still want to value the tradition of keeping it (counselor hunt) as a night activity." The camper seemed curious about my answer, shrugged their shoulders, and walked off. At breakfast, the same camper approached me the following day and said, " I'm glad we did counselor hunt last night because I'm usually too tired to run after the counselors later in the week." I think back to this honest statement when I notice myself getting frustrated with change or the lack of it because this statement holds the reality of being in process. It speaks to the constantly changing landscape of our world and how we have to continually adjust and shift to find our way of being in it. Like the seasons, our ever-evolving selves find moments to bloom and remain dormant, but in that state, we still find ourselves in the process of becoming. Try not to be discouraged by the change; embrace it like the camper did this past summer, and relish in the new reality that change has brought for yourself and others.
Between summer camp and conference center season, new and old things are always happening at Bethelwoods. The tree's leaves might change color, and the covered wagons might be gone, but I hope you take the opportunity to see and experience what is going on at Bethelwoods for yourself. This place may be part of your process...
- Rev. Parker Lucas (Program Director)
Our Mission: A place set apart to encounter God's love through creation and community as we grow.
Address: 922 W Mt Gallant Rd
York, SC 29745
Phone: (803) 366-3722