The Theological Foundations Backpacking Trip 2017 (TFB2017) ended wonderfully on the Lord’s Day evening of July 22 with a fun farewell program after our evening worship service and our last meal together.  The TFB students (TFBers) shared what they had learned about a whole host of subjects such as Christ, the Church, the Christian life, boys, girls, and even their leaders Sam McCracken and Shane Sapp.  The stories made everyone laugh, and the serious reflections on a growing love for the Church made us all grateful for the Lord’s blessing on the program.

Maggie Townsend, Laurel Stewart, and Brayden Lettkeman at a lake on the route to Hiamovi Mountain

TFBers on the summit of Marten Peak

Ten young men and women participated in the TFB2017:  Aaron Lettkeman (Stillwater, OK), Brayden Lettkeman(Stillwater, OK), Morgan McMaham (Beaver Falls, PA), Lucas Ophoff (Los Angeles, CA), Matthew Thoman (Beaver Falls, PA), Titus Thompson (State College, PA), Jereme Thompson (State College, PA), Laurel Stewart (Manhattan, KS), Maggie Townsend (Beaver Falls, PA), and Joshua Zuiderveen (Russell, Ontario).  We were grateful for a wonderful group of students.

Escaping the storm and playing a few hands of UNO


Jason Ryce teaching the Christian Sabbath

The TFB2017 began officially at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 15, with five hours of hands-on instruction about setting up tents, packing backpacks, rules for the wilderness, and proper personal gear.  After lunch, the TFBers enjoyed three lectures on the Church, and we closed the evening with a Psalm-sing and ice-cream social.  On July 16, the TFBers worshipped with Westminster RPC in the morning and evening and attended classes throughout the day.  On Monday, we taught three classes in the morning before we hiked to our first campsite in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area of the Rocky Mountains.  The TFBers returned safely on Saturday to prepare for the last Lord’s Day of the program.

TFBers wiped out at the end of the trek.


Soaking in a view.

The TFB curriculum teaches about the Church with a vision toward loving and serving Christ’s Church.  The curriculum included the following subjects:

  • Sola Scriptura
  • The Regulative Principle of Worship
  • The Means of Grace: Word and Sacraments
  • The Reasons, Privileges, and Responsibilities of Church Membership
  • Presbyterian Church Government
  • The Doctrine of Christ
  • The Christian Sabbath
  • A Defense of the Christian Sabbath
  • Christian Principles of Finance
  • Discovering God’s Will
  • Overview of the Diaconal Ministry
  • Hospitality:  Its Principle and Practice
  • Building Margin into Your Schedule to Serve Christ
  • Zeal in the Christian Life

Most of the lectures and sermons can be found under the series “TFB2017” on  We are very thankful for faithful teaching of our local pastors, elders, and deacons: John Duke, John Greene, Alex Greene, Eric Martinez, Matt Parker, David Reese, Jason Ryce, Sam McCracken, Shane Sapp, Bill Van Sciver, and Jeremiah Wood.

Dinner and devotions in the backcountry with Shane Sapp

Laurel Stewart and the boys of the TFB

At Westminster RPC, we had been saying to ourselves, “The TFBers are coming,” but now that the TFBers are gone, we are praying that they have gone home to their local congregations to serve Christ with a little more understanding about the Church, a little more love for Christ and His people, and a little more awareness of the privileges they possess as the Bride of Christ and opportunities that they have to serve in the Church.  Soon, our prayers will shift to those whom Christ may bring next year.

Rev. Shane Sapp


Lucas Ophoff soothing sore feet in icy Upper Lake

Lucas Ophoff, Joshua Zuiderveen, The Thompson Twins, and Morgan McMahan ascending Marten Peak.




A Canadian perspective on our basecamp.


A view of the scenery east of our basecamp.



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