It’s 2:00pm on a beautiful afternoon in the Santa Cruz mountains. You might call it “Pastor Camp” if you think that hanging around two hundred pastors at a weeklong conference sounds like fun. It began back in 1972 when a band of “mostly young Presbyterian pastors” first met for prayer, mutual encouragement, and excellent teaching. We say we’re “evangelical” even if it is a misunderstood word, because it still conveys the passion of these pastors to be Christ-centered and biblical, and to share and embody the good news.
This is a pretty normal group of people, in my biased opinion, with such a variety of personalities. Some are rather serious; others could do stand-up. Some are talkers, others are more introverted; some have very large congregations, and others are happy to see 30 on a Sunday. Some have been married for 45 years, others have known divorce or the death of a spouse. There are pastors with five children, pastors with no children, and pastors who never married. And yes they have health, family, finance, and work related problems like everyone else.
About a year ago today, while I was at this conference, I got a call from Lisa that her breast biopsy was positive. I was able to fly home that night to be with her as she made decisions about surgery and treatment. Lisa and our family felt surrounded by love; and today there were many who were grateful to hear about her successful treatment. Which reminds me of the good friend who purchased my plane ticket and drove me to the airport – Soon Chung. This year he was not able to come because the building where his church has met for 25 years is being sold. As they look for alternatives, join me in seeking, asking, and knocking on behalf of University Presbyterian Church.
It’s good to be back here again, to Pastor Camp; to be refreshed in worship, to hear God’s word, and to share a few laughs – or tears – with old friends. This is what it’s all about, an extraordinary mixture of personalities and gifts; a community of caring where we are known and loved, and where we can join the healing work of Christ. I think that describes St. John’s, don’t you? Have a great week!