Bethany Village Campaign Kickoff – Wednesday, January 13
Camp McDowell is now the largest Episcopal Camp and Conference Center in the entire country, thanks to the fabulous expansion that has taken place there called Bethany Village. An investment of $10 million has been made by parishioners all over the diocese and the result is remarkable indeed. On Wednesday night, January 13, Rich Webster and David Meginniss, two priests known and loved by so many of us at St. John’s, will be here to help us see the great additions that have been made to Camp McDowell and to invite our participation. Put that night on your calendar and plan to attend what promises to be an exciting evening.
So many have supported Camp McDowell for so very long by sending our children and youth there for summer camp, by attending events such as Cursillo, parish retreat, and vestry retreat, and many have made use of the camp for spiritual retreats and conferences. Nearly 20 years ago the camp expanded to include modern cabins in an area called Miller Commons, named after Bishop Bob Miller. Now Bethany Village, a dream of our Bishop Kee Sloan and the Camp Director Mark Johnston, brings a number of even newer buildings for our use and for various outreach ministries. There are 10 new dorm-style cabins and 7 new lodges, adding 332 beds and nearly doubling our capacity! There is a dance hall and a huge, handsome conference facility which will seat 600. There is a new facility for our Folk School which brings the arts and spirituality together. There is even a Farm-to-Table School which helps us teach the stewardship of creation in cutting-edge ways and allows the camp to grow much of the food it serves.
To top it all off there is now a beautiful new zero-entry swimming pool, called the St. John’s Pool. It’s called zero-entry because it is specially built to accommodate people with special needs along with typical folks. And it’s called the St. John’s Pool because our parish has agreed to raise the funds for the pool. That means that many more of God’s children can enjoy the graces of a pool at camp and we can have our own part of this brand new addition to our beloved Camp McDowell. For those who have this as their very first swimming experience, it just may represent to them the very grace of God which holds and surrounds us.
If it has been a long time since you’ve been to Camp McDowell, or if you’ve never actually been, it is now so much more accessible to those of us who live in Montgomery because of a new interstate which makes the trip a comfortable 2.5 hours. There are many other things to learn about Wonderful Camp McDowell, like the fact that over 12,000 students visit each school year for environmental camp through public and private schools in the region.
On January 13 we’ll get to hear from Rich and David as they tell us about the new part of Camp and what it makes possible. We’ll get to see photos of the St. John’s Pool as well as all the other new facilities. And the evening will kick off our campaign which will invite every member of the parish to contribute to the cause by making a pledge to be paid over a five year period. Plan to attend and begin to consider what your level of support might be. We want everyone to have a chance to be part of Bethany Village and Camp McDowell.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.