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Makes you think August 4, 2009

Posted by John Stephenson in Young people.
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There was an interesting contrasting piece in the Times on Friday. Two articles – one reporting on Camp Quest – an atheist camp helped financially by Richard Dawkins (Britain’s first atheist camp) and a CPAS Venture Christian holiday (helping children keep the faith). The two articles offer an interesting contrast especially for someone devoting two weeks to running such events this summer. Ruth Gledhill sums up the two articles quite well on her blog here

I have long felt that there is nothing particularly Christian or even spiritual about the residential experiencs. The former Soviet Union used Pioneer Camps as part of their strategy for training youngsters in their ideology. But there is something about the what happens when you put a group of young people together. However in that atmosphere we can create space for open honest questioning and investigation – that is what I experienced most last week.

Of course – I believe God was at work but i counted it a real privilege to be with such a great group of people on holiday with God as a natural part of all we did. I was again struck by the relevance of the Bible for all time.

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1. rachel - August 10, 2009

“I have long felt that there is nothing particularly Christian or even spiritual about the residential experiencs” – not sure what you meant by this John? I agree that pretty much any time you get a group of young people together for a holiday is going to be a brilliant experience for them, whatever the underlying reason is, but having just come back from camp, there is definitely something special about Christian camps. Such an intense sense of Christian community, love, spending time to worship and read the Bible seems to provide a tiny little foretaste of heaven and loads of the young people were overwhelmed by the sense of the Holy Spirit on camp which they had never experienced before. I guess it depends on the age range and the background of the campers as to how full-on or inviting questioning the programme is going to be though.

2. John Stephenson - August 15, 2009

Well what I meant was that being away and experiencing some of the residential feelings is not in itself Christian. this is not tio deny that God is at work through what we do – just that being away in itself is not Christian. Yet since God is part of everyday life we should expect to see hom at work through all aspects of our community life – not just in the formal bits.


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