Last night was officially the kick-off of the 2015 camp season here at Delanco Camp! To celebrate this holiday weekend, families from across South Jersey are here for Camp Meeting.

Since this year is the 50th Anniversary of Delanco moving to Lake Agape, this weekend is truly about celebrating the history and sacredness of this special place. Each night of Camp Meeting, we will be having a different speaker serve as the evangelist for the evening. To kick off Camp Meeting, Reverend Carlton “Bo” Bodine lead the service for Thursday. Now, if anyone knows anything about camp, Reverend Bodine is to go-to man for Delanco history. As he said in his sermon last night, he first went to the original camp grounds at six months old, and has been a part of the ministry here at Lake Agape since he was 16 years old. Essentially, Reverend Bodine embodies the true spirit of Delanco Camp.

Last night,  he reminded everyone of the story of how Delanco first moved here to Lake Agape 50 years ago. The original grounds were struggling as the local town of Delanco moved closer and closer to its borders. Some of the buildings were damaged from an accident involving a drunk driver. With the insurance money, the directors decided to purchase a new property in the middle of the woods in Tabernacle.

The first day, the directors met on the beach of Lake Agape and prayed for the ministry that would follow that summer and the years to come. Now, 50 years later, over 100 people met on that same beach again last month during the Delanco Dinner, praying for the past, present, and future 50 years of this place.

One of the key things that Reverend Bodine spoke about was the word holiness and its integral part in the foundation of Delanco Camp. Holiness, essentially, is defined as something “in the highest sense belonging to God”.

It’s important to remember that Delanco Camp is a where God is found, where He does the miraculous, and where lives are changing every summer. It’s a place where the spirit of Jesus Christ is not only alive, but it is visible every single day. Ultimately, Delanco is a holy place, belonging to God.

It’s crazy to think how many lives have been changed over the past 50 years of ministry of Delanco Camp. Like how many people got saved at that old, paint-chipped alter in the Tabernacle. How many lasting friendships were made in the dorms over late night talks when you were supposed to be asleep.  How many people sat in the wooden pews and felt God tugging at their hearts, pulling them into ministry. How many people met their future spouses during free time or in class. Delanco changes hundreds of lives every summer because God is present and God is always moving here on this holy, sandy ground.

Reverend Bodine closed the evening by having us all sing along to a chorus of the song “We Are Standing On Holy Ground”:

We are standing on holy ground. For I know there are angels all around. Let us praise Jesus now. For we are standing in His presence on holy ground.

For me, that chorus is a perfect representation of Reverend Bodine’s message: Delanco Camp has and will always be a place touched by God, filled with His presence and love, that will continue to change lives for the next 50 years and beyond.