If I had to choose one for to describe Camp Meeting it would be “simple”. Not to say that Camp Meeting is boring, but rather that it is stripped down to the bare bones of what Delanco is about. We live in a culture that celebrate busyness. Everything is always go, go, go! While I love that camp is a place to get away from the world and connect with God on a deeper level, I feel that often we still get caught up in the idea of being busy. Most weeks, the schedule is full from the time the campers wake up till the time they crash into their beds sixteen hours later. They finish breakfast just so they can rush to clean their dorms before running off to morning chapel and classes. In between classes, they descend on the snack shack in a whirlwind of sugar-fueled energy. The afternoon is filled with games on the soccer field, boat races on the lake, basketball tournaments, and rounds of gaga. While I loved this as a camper, it is simply not sustainable. Camper and staff alike go home after a week of camp filled with God, but thoroughly exhausted.
Camp meeting is different. The only items on the schedule are meals, bible study, and evening service. The pace is slower, but it is also more intentional. Instead of rushing into the dinning hall when meals are announced, people slowly trickle in until it is time to eat. They stay seated at their tables talking long after the food has been finished and cleared away. In the afternoon, parents sit on the beach together while their children splash in the lake or gather on the porch of the motel to talk while their babies nap.
That is the other thing I love about Camp Meeting. It is focused on families. There are parents here with their school-age children and parents here fellowshipping with their adult children. There are parents who raised their children to adulthood at Camp Meeting, only to have these children bring their own children here too. Camp Meeting is a multigenerational affair and it is a beautiful thing to witness.
Rev. Steve La Motte has been preaching on adoption, both his family’s story of adopting two boys from China and our story as Christians being adopted into God’s family. In a sense, Camp Meeting is another form of adoption. These families have taken each other in and established a family rooted in Christ and Delanco. Although I believe that deep friendships can be formed because of a week of camp, there is something special about friendships that have been shaped by families coming to camp year after year for decades. These are relationships that have survived marriages and children and retirements. Their bonds have been made stronger by worshiping together. In the end, Camp Meeting is a family reunion.