For many members and friends of the RPCA, the annual Fellowship Camp is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. Held at the presbytery’s beloved Dixon’s Creek campground over the long Easter weekend, Fellowship Camp provides opportunities for all ages to deepen friendships, grow spiritually, and enjoy the beauty of Creation.
This year’s returning camp organisers Emily, Meg, and Bessie Mikelsons from Geelong RPC did a beautiful job of planning the weekend once again. It began on Friday with a scrumptious meal prepared by this year’s incredible cooks, Ryan and Laura Cerbus (McKinnon RPC). We then learned about the history of Christianity in rural Australia in an introduction led by Jono Feldman (Geelong RPC) and finished off the evening with some classic chocolate self-saucing pudding.
Despite the rainy weather and persistent mud, we were able to enjoy the walks and skipping rope competitions traditional to any Dixon’s Creek camp. It was encouraging to see new faces as well as many familiar friends who have attended camp for years and years.
On Saturday, while the younger campers participated in morning programs for their age groups, we were able to choose one of three workshops to learn from: ‘The Bible and our Hobbies’ led by Joel Blakston and Josh McEwen (Geelong RPC), ‘Engaging with First Nations Brothers and Sisters’ led by Cerissa Benjamin and Alex Mikelsons (Geelong RPC), and ‘Beyond the Casserole—caring for the sick and weak’ led by Allison Hart (McKinnon RPC).
Saturday afternoon held the second annual Camp Café, complete with homemade and bakery cakes, milkshakes, espresso coffee and live music. This year’s proceeds went to Barnabas Aid’s mission to help Christians suffering in Türkiye and Syria as a result of the recent earthquakes.
One of my favourite parts of camp this year was the bush dance on Saturday night. We danced the classic “Nutbush” and learned a few new ones including the “Waves of Bondi”. Attendance was so high this year (the total reaching nearly 130 on Sunday!) that we struggled to fit everyone in the hall!
On Sunday morning we tested our knowledge of RP churches around the world in a quiz hosted by Jane Blakston and were later led in worship by guest pastor, Joshua Rogers, who admonished us from Psalm 2. That afternoon we gathered for prayer and praise where elders shared updates from the three congregations, and we spent time praying for each. Nat McEwen led us in singing Psalms on the theme of God dwelling with His people, as well as a few favourites.
We were amused over brekky on Monday morning by the return of the charity auction from last year, in which the leftover cakes from the café, coffee, and skills contributed by campers were bid on to raise additional funds for Barnabas’ Aid. Camp came to an end after the second session of workshops and lunch, and we were sad to see the precious opportunity for spending time with so many Christians in such a beautiful place come to an end.
Thanks to Amanda McCracken for putting together this article. Amanda McCracken is 18 years old and a member of the RP church in Frankston. She moved to Australia from Indiana, USA in 2020, and has grown to love her new home and church family. She plans to pursue a certificate in patisserie later this year, and spends her time working in a café, singing, and spending time with her friends.