Anglican Life is the official newspaper for the three dioceses of the Anglican Church of Canada in Newfoundland and Labrador.
On June 15th, in the St. Andrew’s Chapel, in the heart of Gros Morne National Park, Archbishop Stewart Payne preached a sermon at a special service that was held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Kildevil Camp. Then Primate, Archsbihop Fred Hiltz, presided at the Eucharist. This sermon will also be available in the December issue of Anglican Life.
Gospel Reading: 1 John 21: 9-17
The picture presented to us from the Gospel reading today is that of Jesus in his resurrected body; on the Galilean Lake Shore, with a fish breakfast prepared for his tired and weary fishermen friends, who had toiled all night and taken nothing. A miracle takes place as the fishermen disciples obey the Master’s voice—“cast the nets again on the right side of the boat.” There are lessons in all that about the relationship with Jesus and the willingness, though tired to the point of exhaustion, to hear and obey the Master’s voice.
Archbishop Payne preaching; Archbishop Hiltz sitting behind him
When they had secured a very good catch of fish and had enjoyed breakfast with Jesus, Jesus put to Simon Peter—and thereby to all who were with him and to us—“Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?”. With painful memories of his denial of Jesus three times just a short time before, Peter assured Jesus of his love. It was then that Jesus commissioned Simon Peter, all who were with him, and us—“Feed my lambs; tend my sheep.”
Long before I started to write my second book, I had the title in mind, unusual as it may seem: “Feed my lambs, tend my sheep”. The publisher, Flanker Press, was not enamoured with that title, simply because they knew, as I do too now, that a book has to be marketable. The title has to spark people’s interest in a subject they may be interested in and want to pick it up and read it. So after some thought and negotiation we settled on the title—“The Killdevil Lodge Experience, in Gros Morne National Park”. The content is the same: all about the development of this church camp site where ministry to our youth and people of all ages takes place.
At this point, I should say something about what I perceive “feeding my lambs and tending my sheep” means; in other words to give something of a rational for church run youth camps.
Children come to Holy Baptism in the church so that they may, by God’s grace, grow into the full stature of Christ and be trained in the household of faith. This is a shared responsibility of parents, God parents and the full membership of the church congregation. We all promise to fulfill our responsibilities by God’s help.
From birth all the way through, we teach and lead, not simply by word but by deed and example at home, but also in church and in the community.
The church does much to help children and people of all ages in their spiritual growth and development. For children and young people the normal activities are: children’s time in the context of Sunday worship, Sunday school, youth groups (too many to name), servers, junior choir, and involvement in service and ministry activities. For adults there are any number of organizations: prayer groups, Bible study, and for all age groups worship and pastoral care. There are Kildevil Camps for seniors.
Church run youth camps are just another way in which we try to carry out our shared responsibility to help children and young people grow into the full stature of Christ and be trained in the household of faith.
The exposure of being one with 50, 60, or 100 other young people is phenomenal. They learn to get along with one another, respect one another and make lifelong friendships. Doing daily chores together helps create a team spirit and to know that work doesn’t have to be drudgery but can be fun as they all do a fair share.
All the camp programs—sports, swimming, hiking, canoeing, arts and crafts, and Quest—help their physical and spiritual growth. In all camp activities, young people learn teamwork, fair play, and how to live by the rules. They learn that it is not whether you win or lose that matters, but how you play the game. Worship services in the chapel, prayers at flagstaff to begin and end each day, and the daily religious instruction (Quest) all help in the transformation to a living faith in God and the cultivation of Christlike lives.
The title of my book fits well, I believe, with those who are familiar with the history of this place over the last 60 years. The only structure of any significance on the site in 1958/59 was the Killdevil Lodge, now the Archbishop Seaborn Lodge. That is what Bishop and Mrs. Seaborn and their loyal volunteers had to begin with. Both Bishop and Mrs. Seaborn had had years of rich experiences in Church youth camps in Ontario, Quebec, BC and elsewhere. The mandate given him by our Diocesan Bishop, J. A. Meaden, was to concentrate on youth ministry in Central and Western Newfoundland. He began immediately to look for a site to set up church youth camps. Killdevil became the favourite site.
The early days of church camping at Killdevil were challenging to say the least. Finances were, literally, non-existent. To pay for the lodge and build a kitchen/dining hall, the Trustee Committee borrowed $10,000 from the bank. Apart from paying a small wage to the cook and the caretakers, everything was done by dedicated volunteers. Financial appeals were made again and again to individuals and to parishes. At one stage parishes in Central and Western areas were assessed (I’m not sure how that worked out). Many fundraisers were held all the way through the Diocese of Newfoundland, and after 1976, the Diocese of Western Newfoundland supported Killdevil with limited finances. As time went on government grants, Local Initiative Projects (LIP) were procured. Two big windfalls, the sale of the property to the Federal Government (Gros Morne National Park) in 1977 for $200,000, and the input of nearly one quarter of a million dollars for the 1987 Boy Scouts of Canada Jamboree.
Youth camps began in 1959 using borrowed canvas tents and outdoor toilets, gradually progressing to cabins made of wooden bottoms and canvas tops, and then to all plywood cabins. Bowater’s Pulp and Paper Mill in Corner Brook and the Lundrigan’s Company in Corner Brook were both very generous in their support of the Killdevil Camp and Conference Centre. Campers swam in the cold salt water in the bay, down over the banks just behind us here, and were often stung by jellyfish whose habitat they were invading.
Travel to and from this site was difficult in the early days: train or bus. It could take campers from the Northern Peninsula a week to get here—by road part way, and then by boat, and then by road again, etc.
From the start, daily worship services were (and still are) a primary focus of all church youth camps. For the first 6 years the lodge sunporch served as a multi-purpose room including chapel space. The need for a chapel was often discussed by the Board of Trustees, and because of the need for site expansion and the shortage of money, the idea of accommodating a chapel in one end of the recreation building was considered. But Bishop Seaborn was always firm on the side of having a separate chapel building.
Hence this beautiful A-frame chapel built in 1965, at a cost of $5,849.91. A loan of $3,000.00 from the Bank of Montreal had to be obtained nearing the completion of the building. Volunteers did considerable fundraising in the meantime. Some of the girls from the Senior Girls Camp and the Junior Girls Camp that summer of 1965 each helped to raise a set of rafters for the new chapel, St. Andrews. All the furnishings were donated. The late Rev’d Gordon Pevie found the altar and brought it here as a gift from the people of the resettled community of Irelands Eye, Trinity Bay, NL.
The plaque above the altar reads: “This altar was made by the undersigned during the months of June to October, 1937”. “The work was done at a great personal sacrifice because of the fact that the only available time for this work is between the hours of 8 and 11 pm. Great care was taken to produce good workmanship and design so that the effect would be pleasing to the critical eye of the lover of art. Nfld. Is just coming out of a serious depression lasting since 1929. Corner Brook, Nov 6, 1937 – Ernest Bugden.”
This is just a snippet of some of the many things that have been done over the years in the attempts to “feed my lambs, tend my sheep.”
Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Killdevil Camp and Conference Centre brings to my mind the motto of Bishop John Organ: “Honour the Past, Live in the Present and Embrace the Future”.
Honouring the past affords us the opportunities to lovingly remember and pay tribute to the many volunteers and paid staff who have given so much of themselves (time, talents, and treasure) to build up and maintain Killdevil Camp and Conference Centre, including especially the ones who gave many years, many summers, preparing for, directing and staffing the youth camps. (I’ll leave you read the names and the tribute to some of them in my book).
Living in the present, their legacy to us is a great one as we humbly and thankfully enjoy the fruits of their tireless, unselfish and devoted labours and their vision. We are familiar with the demographics of today—the out-migration of families with children, families having far fewer children, family camping, so much more today by way of organized sports and other activities for youth—as a result the numbers of campers are down compared to years ago, making it somewhat more difficult perhaps to make ends meet financially. In the meantime, Kildevil Camp and Conference Centre is a first class and popular for youth camps, conferences, workshops, and many other activities of a learning, growing, and celebratory nature.
The future will have its challenges for sure. Changes are inevitable. All I can offer is that we should continue to strengthen our relationships with Gros Morne National Park and parish advocacy work, and should explore financial resources provincially, federally, and through our own diocesan structures, including the area of volunteering. The age of volunteers is never over.
Jesus’ words on the lake shore of Galilee to those tired and weary fishermen friends: “Feed my lambs; tend my sheep,” were words meant to direct their thoughts to future work and ministry. And so those words of Jesus direct our thoughts to future work and ministry—to embrace the future where God’s great work still awaits us.
May we go forth in the love and name of the loving gentle one, with his words always in our minds and upon our hearts—“Feed my lambs, tend my sheep”.
From the upcoming December print issue of Anglican Life, this article by Sheila Boutcher:
The Rev’d Jim Beaton and his wife Bernice celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this summer. They wanted to share their joy and thankfulness, not only with family and friends, but decided to make the occasion really meaningful by sharing it with those less fortunate! In lieu of gifts, they asked their guests to make a donation to The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund. As a result, over $2,000 was raised and has been donated to support a number of partners and projects featured in the PWRDF World of Gifts campaign. Thank you, and may God continue to bless you as you continue to bless others, for many, many years to come!
From the upcoming December issue of Anglican Life:
St Mark’s Church fellowship group in St. John’s hosted a welcome get together for the Multicultural Ladies Organization on Wednesday, October 9th, 2019. The ladies were interested in the display of items for outreach; extra items will be sold at the fall sale.
Newfoundland goodies, including molasses and partridgeberry tarts, went well with a cup of tea. China cups were there for anyone preferring a pretty cup over a mug!
There was a buzz of conversations as we exchanged ideas regarding quilting and knitting. And as we used to end our minutes in the old ACW, “a good time was had by all.”
From the article by Susan Haskell in the December issue of Anglican Life:
Every year, on the Feast of St. Luke, Bishop Peddle celebrates the Eucharist in the chapel at St. Luke’s. This year, history was made on the October 18th Feast Day when the Bishop formally instituted the ecumenical faith community there as a “special and unique” entity within the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Ecumenical Congregation of St. Luke, as it is now known, is thought to be the first of its kind within the Anglican Church of Canada, and will hereafter be recognized as a stand-alone community within the Anglican Church, contributing to the collective ministry of its Diocese. The Rev’d Christopher Fowler was inducted as Vicar of the congregation during the celebratory Eucharist, and a post-service reception was enjoyed by all.
On October 26th, The Diocese of Central Newfoundland met for a special session of synod to make a decision on marriage equality. In his Charge to Synod, which took place the night before, Bishop John Watton began by acknowledging that it has become very clear that we are standing looking forward, and that the church of today is not what it used to be. He shared his own story of coming back to the church for the baptism of his child 35 years ago after he had come to a place in his own life where “to be honest, we didn’t care much about religious values, culture, or practice.” He had grown up with an impression of God as a tyrant to be feared, and didn’t trust the church. But during that return to church, the rector of the parish called him by name, and Bishop John said that it was as if God was telling him that he doesn’t hate him, but loves him. It was for him “a Holy Conversation.”
Bishop John went on to talk about the patience shown to his family as confused but enthusiastic members of the Anglican Church. He spoke of the generous ways that we today listen to the “pain of Indigenous peoples, oppressed women, sexual and industrial slaves, belittled minorities; people who have been and still are being trapped in the darkness of human greed and capitalist avarice.” He stressed that these conversations that are now taking place within the Anglican Church of Canada about LGTBQ+ people is about justice and about listening to the Holy Spirit.
The official wording of the motion that came before synod was as follows:
Therefore, be it hereby resolved that: This Synod of the Diocese of Central Newfoundland accept and endorse the document “A Word to the Church” and the “local option” as set out in the declaration of the House of Bishops, and on that basis affirm the authority of the Bishop of the Diocese to allow parishes and congregations which formally request permission of him or her to perform same sex marriages to do so.
The vote was by secret ballot, and it passed with 87% of those present circling yes on their ballot.
For the full article by The Rev’d Fred Marshall, see the November print issue of Anglican Life:
As a newly ordained priest in my first parish consisting of congregations in Arnold’s Cove, Come By Chance, North Harbour, and Sunnyside, I spent most of the first year listening and observing. One morning while facing the congregation at Saint Michael and All Angels in Arnold’s Cove, I wondered “where are the men?” The community of Arnold’s Cove had a population of approximately 1,000 people and it was estimated that at least sixty percent had an Anglican background. Average Sunday attendance would be less than 35 people, the great majority of whom were female. While some were widows and there were a few men, there is an obvious disconnect in the number of men attending worship. Where were the men and why did they not come to church?
One of the things that I discovered is that a common interest and a place for men, especially in rural areas, is “the shed.” Entering the shed is informal and less intimidating than entering the Lions’ Den or the Church. In the shed everyone is equal. In the shed you can engage in conversation or just sit and listen. In the shed seemed to be a good place for men’s ministry. When the decision was made to have a place for men to gather, men showed up to help prepare a shed behind the rectory and next to the church. Installing a wood stove was a must.
Each year approximately 60 men took part in the project with 20 to 30 attending on Thursday evenings. It was so wonderful to see three generations participate in the project. While they were welcome to attend on Thursday evening, women often dropped by on other days “to see what the men were up to.” An official launching and christening of the boat became part of the Arnold’s Cove Heritage Committee’s opening ceremony
If you wish to check out the amazing fellowship “In the Shed with Rev. Fred—Building a Boat—Building Community” visit our parish Facebook site – https://www.facebook.com/parishofthelivingwater/ I pray you will “Like” us and spread the Word.
From the upcoming November issue of Anglican Life:
On September 8th, a total of 40 dresses were taken to Holy Trinity Church in Codroy, and were blessed by our visiting member of the clergy, the Rev’d Jim Reid. The dresses were made by members of the church, and will be sent to Haiti. Many thanks to everyone who made them, and also to those who donated pillow cases for them. May they be enjoyed by all who receive them.
On Thursday September 26th and Friday September 27th, the Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador held a special Mission Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in St. John’s. The conference was organized by Archdeacon Greg Mercer with the assistance of the Mission Deans of the diocese. Two guest speakers, Dr. Alan Roxburgh and the Rev’d Dr. Jay Koyle, addressed the assembled group of mission representatives from across the diocese, and also held interactive sessions to answer specific questions relating to mission within parishes.
Dr. Roxurgh spoke of how mission is discerning what God is doing ahead of us. He spoke on the importance of moving beyond the walls and boundaries of our parish buildings, of taking ourselves out into the local communities, and just being with the people who we find there. Mission is not about coming up with new programs in an attempt to fill the needs of the rest of the population, but is rather to concern itself with going out into the community to be with those who are not a part of the parish, and to look for no return on that investment. Engage in this mission, and see where God will take us.
Dr. Koyle spoke of how the way that we look at things determines what we will see and how we need to let the future lead us just as much as we do the past. As Christians, we are shaped by what we will become—by where the Holy Spirit is leading, and by God’s promised tomorrow. He asked if we felt that we are living in a time of crisis for the church, which it is clear that we are. However, it was suugested that this is not a crisis of membership, but rather one of realising who needs to be relevant to whom. As the church, we no longer have a monopoly on religion, and so we must find our market niche. The problem that we have is not that the gospel has become irrelavant to society, but that the kingdom of God has become irrelevant to the church. Again, it is not about trying to attract people to us—not about creating programs and adapting to their needs—but about making ourselves more attractive people by how we live our lives. There are plenty of people of love in the world, and our job is to find them. Congregation is not a problem to be solved, but is a blessing to be released.
Between sessions, Dr. Rick Singleton and Dr. Carmel Doyle (both of Queen’s College) led a time of silence and reflection so that those present could listen to where the Holy Spirit is leading the church.