In July, the Presbytery of the Alleghenies returned to the Laurelville Retreat Center for our annual family camp. Twenty-one churches from three presbyteries, four denominations and four countries were represented at camp to make up the most well-attended POA family camp to date. Over 411 attendees made for tighter meeting spaces but even better fellowship all week long.

Each morning, adults and youth in 7th through 12th grade were blessed by Daniel Howe’s (pastor of Christ RPC in East Providence, NH) talks regarding the Sabbath. Daniel led us through this study under four headings: “Unlearning Egypt”, “Bread Broken and Blessed”, “When Strivings Cease”, and “Mercy and Fasting”. Specifically, the talks focused on the main points of his new book: Worship, Feasting, Rest, and Mercy: The Christian Sabbath. The talks, in combination with small group discussions and Q+A sessions with Pastor Howe, were a wonderful time of growing in wisdom together.

While the adults and teens met together, nearly 120 kids participated in the children’s program directed and planned by Jennifer George. The kids also learned more about the Sabbath through a combination of teaching, recreation, and crafts. 

The week’s weather was sunny and beautiful which made for a very full pool all week long. Those that weren’t in the pool were playing broomball, carpetball, gaga, partner soccer, or participating in the intergenerational relay races. The table tennis, free throw shooting, spikeball and mini golf tournaments were loved as usual but the additions of chess and pickleball brought some special attention to morning “sport reports” from Ethan (“Coach”) Bosch. 

Additionally, many others decided to use the afternoons to hike, sit and converse with friends, do puzzles, or attend one of the several workshops. The workshops included talks titled, The Gospel and Foster Care, Engaging Children in God’s Word, and The Majesty of Unanswered Prayer. Remaining workshops included an update on the church in East Asia and several Reading in Hebrew sessions.

On Wednesday evening, Pastor Trace Turner preached at the Consecration Service. The remaining days of the week culminated with a campfire on Sunset Hill. After a hike through the woods or a ride on the “people mover”, many gathered to sing campfire song favorites led by Herb McCracken. After singing, the evenings were closed out by devotions led by John Stahl, accompanied by his famous science experiments.

In a bittersweet moment, Joel and Tabi Ward were congratulated for their past 12 years of serving selflessly as POA Camp Directors. After directing the last nine POA camps, the Lord has called them to use their talents elsewhere. 

POA will not meet at Laurelville in 2024 because of the RP International Conference, but will reconvene together again as a presbytery on July 7-11, 2025. Mark it on your calendars! We hope to see you there.

Written by Davis Streit. Davis and his wife Sarah are parents of Phoebe, Teddy, and a baby on the way. They are members of Grace Gibsonia RPC. In light of the Ward family’s departure, the Streits plan to serve as the new POA Camp Directors. 

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