Mark your calendars for the weekend of April 20th-22nd 2018. Why should you mark your calendars so far in advance? Because that is the next edition of our parish weekend at Camp Bratton-Green. If you came this year, come again. If you missed this year, we missed you and want to see you next year. Even if you can’t stay the whole weekend, come when you can.
Parish weekend is a tradition among many Episcopal churches in Mississippi. However, this was my first parish weekend to attend and it was a blast! I grew up going to Camp Bratton-Green as a youth so being back in that place, as a parent of two, was surreal.
At one point, I sat down on a bench, eating a fantastic grilled cheese sandwich and took in the scenery. Though Camp Bratton-Green is a beautiful place, its beauty was not my focus. The scenery I was taking in was one of community. The scenery I was taking in was the Chapel of the Cross. All within the span of my view, there were people paddling canoes and kayaks on the lake. There were people on the shore putting crickets on hooks to see if the fish were biting. On the pier in the middle of the lake, some of our youth had gathered to relax and soak in the sun. There were children scurrying about the perimeter of the pool while parents constantly refilled instruments squirting water. Toddlers were blowing bubbles. Babies were crawling around on blankets. Baxter Rayner, the dog, was rolling around in the grass. It was a beautiful scene. It was a scene that I hope will be recreated for many parish weekends to come. It was a scene that you are invited to next year.
And yet, that wasn’t my highlight of the weekend. On Sunday, the Holy Spirit moved as she often does at Camp Bratton-Green. During the closing Eucharist, I had an item checked off my bucket list. I celebrated the Eucharist for the first time in the Chapel at camp. If that wasn’t moving enough for me, during the Eucharist, the kids gathered around the altar. Usually Ben is the only person standing next to me during the Eucharist. On this occasion, I had ten or so of our children gathered around the altar as we celebrated the Eucharist together. It was a perfect ending to a wonderful weekend. It is what camp is all about. It is what the parish weekend is all about. It is what the Chapel of the Cross is all about.
So mark your calendars for April 20th-22nd. Don’t wait! Do it now! Come experience community. Come experience Camp Bratton-Green. Come experience the Chapel of the Cross.