Diocesan Youth Seek the Kingdom of God at Camp Nazareth
MERCER, PA --- In keeping with the 2011 Diocesan Summer Camp theme, The Vocation of Victory: Seek First the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added.(Matthew 6:33), a record number of diocesan youth took time out of their hectic summer schedules to attend one or more of the three 2011 diocesan camping weeks at Camp Nazareth. This year, we were blessed with a large group of campers from the northern most region of the Diocese - the Canada Deanery.
This year's program offered the youth the opportunity to reflect upon their vocation or calling to serve God and humanity, through guided faith enrichment classes, group and individual discussions with the clergy and within the context of the rich daily life of prayer and participation in the Holy Mysteries of Repentance and the Eucharist.
During their stay at Camp Nazareth, they had the opportunity to practice their faith, being patient with others while living in close quarters, providing a listenning ear to those dealing with homesickness or other personal issues, and by finding joy in fellowship in the well-developed program of daily activities.
The clergy and staff members in attendance were strengthened in their own faith witnessing first hand the great love the campers had for participating in and singing with great beauty and zeal the daily divine services which ranged from Morning and Evening Prayers, to Services of Intercession ( Moleben's and Akathists) to Great Vespers and Divine Liturgy. The Glory of the Lord was palpable at each and every gathering for prayer in the beautiful Carpathian Style Sts Cyril and Methodius Church, as the campers sang with great zeal, the Plain Chant responses to the Divine Services. Especially noteworthy this year was the singing of several hymns in the Byzantine (Greek) style of chanting, such as the Hymn to the Virgin Mary, written by St. Nectarios and Psalm 135 as sung on Mount Athos.
So that more could experience the incredible beauty of our diocesan youth singing the hymns of the Church, this year several divine services and other hymns sung by small groups of clergy, staff and campers were recorded during the the third and final camping week. The complete recording of Great Vespers and Liturgy for the Feast of Transfiguration and selected para-liturgical hymns have been uploaded and can be listened to on-line here or downloaded to your iPod or mp3 player.
It has often be said that our youth are the future of the Church. While this is technically true, it does not tell the full story. At Camp Nazareth, even to the most casual observer it is obvious that our youth ARE an indispensible part of the Church of today. At camp, they are encouraged to take ownership of their spiritual lives and fully participate in the liturgical life. At Camp Nazareth, there are no "pew potatos" only active participants. When given the opportunity they rise to the occassion and serve God and the Church, with joy and with gladness.
Camp Nazareth, replete with, in the words of + Metropolitan Nicholas, its heartbeat St Cyril and Methodius Church is truly a jewel in the crown of our God-Saved Diocese. Fr. Stephen Loposky, the Administrator of Camp Nazareth along with his entire family and the 2011 Camp Staff are to be commended for their love and concern for our diocesan youth, and all their labors which made the 2011 Diocesan Camp Program a spiritually uplifting and strengthening experience for all. As the tears shed at the end of each camping week by the campers and the many photos, comments and remembrances that have been posted on our campers' Facebook pages within hours of returning home demonstrate, our youth have a deep love for Camp Nazareth. For truly as the Camp Nazareth song so beautifully expresses, it is a place where you find God everywhere. What could possibly be better than this!
View the Complete 2011 Diocesan Camp Photo Gallery To Learn More About the Program
Listen to Audio Recordings of Divine Services and Hymns Sung By Campers