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Lutheran Summer Conference at Silver Bay: New York’s best-kept secret?

August 25, 2014 04:14 PM
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by Pastor Joanne Bond

 

Over 250 Lutherans converged July 12-18 for what some might call "the best kept secret in Lutheran circles." They gathered to attend the 82nd Annual Lutheran Summer Conference at Silver Bay, located at Lake George. Nestled in the Adirondack Mountains, this is a joint program of the Metro New York and Upstate New York Synods of the ELCA. The conference features worship, morning courses, and activities such as boating, hiking, swimming, crafts, softball, tennis, and yoga for all ages.

  

The course offerings included: "Genesis: The Original Daytime Soap," led by Pastor Jim O’Hanlon; "Stewardship...aren’t we on vacation?" led by Pastor Katrina Foster; and "Missional Leadership for the 21st Century," led by Pastor Judith VanOsdol, the upstate Director of Evangelical Mission. Pastor Frederick Schumacher led a presentation called "Counting Down with Medals to 2017...the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation."

  

lsckayakThere was music, fireside s’mores, a talent show, a beach party, a carnival, and special activities for the children and youth such as a rock climbing, canoeing, sailing instruction, kayaking, archery, and more. Stained-glass making, watercolor painting, hand-dying silk scarves, quilting, basket-weaving, and work with precious metal, clay, beading, jewelry, and silver were some of the craft opportunities offered.

  

"Silver Bay is a place where my whole family played, prayed, napped, ate without having to cook, clean up, or shop for food, met new friends, sang and grew in our faith," said Pr. Foster about her experience. "It was a week we wanted and needed."

 

Registrar for the event, Roxanne Keith from Trinity, Rocky Point, commented, "Many folks return year after year; a number of people have attended for over 50 years." The camp is wheelchair accessible, which encourages people of all ages to come back.

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Conference chaplain Pastor Katie Yahns from the Upstate New York Synod led worship each morning and evening, including Holy Communion on Sunday morning. The highlight for some was the candlelight evening prayer service Thursday. A choir of about 20 people offered music daily.

  

With limited cell service, people had "Sabbath rest" from their usual technology and busy schedules; just rocking in chairs on the huge front porch at the inn with a book or newspaper was a favorite pastime for some, gazing upon picturesque Lake George. "Spending time together like this is church at its best," reflected Pr. O'Hanlon.

  

Jeremy Block, from Milford, Pennsylvania commented, "This is our first time here. I especially enjoyed the plethora of activities for teens. The youth program had a lot to offer. Also, I met new friends from Dallas, Ecuador, and Tanzania."

  

Jeremy’s mother, Cena Block, another first-time attendee, commented, "This has been an awesome experience. We had a blast, and are most definitely returning!"

 

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