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Archive for August, 2014

Photos by Paul Bickford, Susan Brown, Janet Chase, Win Grant and Jess Ward.

Worship is what we’re here for. In worship we acknowledge Who’s in charge and who isn’t, what’s important and what can wait. We give thanks and we praise and we intercede. We sing of God’s glory and blessings. We read the stories of God’s saving presence. We tie up the loose ends of last week and prepare for the next. In worship we seek our truest selves. Worship is the center of our lives, whether in a cathedral or a country church, under a tree – or in a gymnasium.

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While we’re worshipping in the Gym, here’s what’s been happening in the Sanctuary.

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Story by Susan Beach. Photos courtesy of Camp Alkulana.

“I don’t feel scared anymore.”  These words, spoken by a child at Camp Alkulana, tell us the fear is gone, but they also tell us that fear was there. They remind us that some children have serious worries and that for a variety of reasons, their homes can be scary places.

For nearly 100 years Camp Alkulana, a year-round ministry of the Richmond Baptist Association (RBA), has been a refuge for many of these children. Its mission is as serious as the children’s worries: to reveal God’s love to low-income and at-risk children and youth in Central Virginia so that they might realize the intrinsic value in themselves and others.

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A serious mission, but the means of carrying it out are as fun, beautiful and exciting as God’s world. Camp Alkulana, located in Millboro Springs, VA, is deep in the Allegheny Mountains. Its proximity to the George Washington National Forest provides the Camp with boundless space and endless program resources. Summer activities include hiking, cave exploring, camping out, cooking out, rock climbing, rappelling, ropes course, and swimming, as well as crafts, Bible study, and worship.

More than 200 campers, ages nine to 14, participate each summer. Depending on age, they stay for seven- or 11-day sessions. They are led, loved and supported by a staff of 50, some paid and some volunteer. All these people and activities add up. The cost for each camper is $500, but because Alkulana’s mission is to reach low-income families, those families pay only what they can afford. No child is turned away for lack of funds.

And that’s where FBC comes in. Each summer we focus on the Camp Alkulana Offering which completely funds the camp’s budget. As some area churches recently have withdrawn from the RBA, that offering must stretch farther than ever. Gifts can be made – now and throughout the year – online or using FBC’s gold missions envelopes in our offering packets and marking gifts for Camp Alkulana.

Our gifts replace worries with blessings. They change hearts and lives and words. The campers say it best:

     “It’s a great camp where you can have fun, make new friends, and learn to trust in God.”
     “It’s a place where you can always find people who love you.”
     “Alkulana is like family.”


Author’s notes: Camp Alkulana has been in continuous operation since 1915. Pray and give that the Camp can continue its work for another hundred years and beyond.

If you have volunteered or served Camp Alkulana in any way, please share your experiences in the Comments box below.

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