The Way it Ought to Be

I just received an ad for a Catechetical retreat for 5-8th graders in Council Bluffs, IA that looks outstanding. I would simply note the three-fold focus of the event: Catechesis; Worship; and Recreation. Though I cannot attend it, if I were closer, I would definitely try to take a group of youth there.

This is the way things ought to be done in youth work, and really all congregational life. Worship, Catechesis, and Recreation are all wonderful gifts of our Creator.

But when we mix them, or try to blend them together as happens so often in youth ministry and church life, confusion ensues. When we think that every fun thing must have a devotional or religious element to it, then the fun is not so fun, and the devotion is usually watered down.

Or, when we think that we have to make worship and prayer recreational rather than reverent and holy, it is usually not the fun that suffers, but the worship and the Word. But we also highly value hard work, whether that be in service, or in learning and studying. Catechesis requires work, both on the part of the Catechist, and also on the part of the learner. It requires one to work hard at listening and thinking. This too should have its own time.

This retreat looks like it gets the distinction right. If you are in the area of Council Bluffs, I doubt you will be disappointed.

Catechetical Retreat
Iowa School for the Deaf
June 15-17, 2010
TO:  Pastors
FROM:  Rev. Nathan Sherrill, St. Paul’s Lutheran, Council Bluffs, IA.
REGARDING:  Catechetical Camp @ Iowa School for the Deaf for 5th through 8th graders.  (3501 Harry Langdon Blvd. Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503 )
COST:  $85.00 per person (two overnights and 6 meals).
DATES:  June 15-17, Council Bluffs Iowa. 
Each year Trinity Lutheran Church in Murdock, NE and other congregations attend a catechetical camp near Cozard, NE called Camp Comeca. 
Due to the great response and participation over the years, several congregations in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa would like the same retreat offered on another date and a closer location.  I have offered to help organize such a retreat with the youth board at St. Paul’s and help of other area pastors.  This will be the first year that this retreat will be offered in Council Bluffs, and depending on interest, can be an annual event.
The retreat is a catechetical retreat intended specifically to reinforce the confirmation instruction of your youth.  Seven 45 minute sessions will be conducted over the course of the three days that focus on one or more of the chief parts of the catechism.  The students will be divided into two conference rooms by age.  The theme for this year’s retreat is:
Holy Baptism:  A Life Giving Water!
Rev. Clint Poppe from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Lincoln Nebraska will organize catechesis at the retreat.  We will also have a retreat chaplin and a retreat musician, the director of music at St. Paul’s, Council Bluffs, Dr. J. Gordon Christensen.  
 The Council Bluffs retreat will offer at least four opportunities for worship using services from LSB.  As you know, since Lutheran Worship is itself highly catechetical, a goal is to model appropriate worship and music practices consistent with historic Lutheranism.  Future opportunities for student participation musically in worship, through the use of organ, piano and other instruments will be explored.  
 Obviously a very intentional goal of these retreats is to have a lot of fun!  Our retreat will be the only group on the campus of Iowa School for the Deaf.  We have graciously been given wide use of the Lied Center, which includes full gymnasium for games such as dodge ball, basketball and volleyball as well as use of their indoor, zero entry swimming pool.  
The outdoor grounds include a football field, bike trail, picnic shelters and wide open space for soccer, softball, ultimate Frisbee and the like.  St. Paul’s Youth Board will be in charge of providing meals, for the retreat.  
Arrival, departure, registration and other misc.:
 Please arrive at ISD at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15.  Plan on departing from ISD after lunch on Thursday, June 18.
It is encouraged that the pastor’s of each congregation attend with their students.  We also ask that if you have male and female students that you bring at least one male and female chaperone.  
If you plan to attend, please let me know how many will be in your group as soon as possible, and no later than Memorial Day, May 31st.  It is suggested that you obtain a deposit from the youth in advance.  Final payment can be made when your group arrives in Council Bluffs.
Peace in Christ,
Catechetical Retreat Schedule
June 15, 2010
4:30 p.m.  Arrive / Unpack
5:30 p.m.  Supper
6:15-7:00 p.m.  Lesson 1:  Baptism Part 1, “What is it?”
7:15-8:00 p.m.  Lesson 2:  Baptism Part 2, “What’s in it for me?” 
8:00-9:45 p.m. Recreation (more specific details on recreation will be provided upon arrival.)
10:00 p.m.  Snack
10:15 p.m.  Vespers
11:15 p.m.  Lights Out
June 16, 2010
8:00 a.m.  Breakfast
9:00 a.m.  Matins 
9:30-10:15 a.m.  Lesson 3:  Baptism Part 3, “Powerful Water!” 
10:30 a.m.  Recreation
11:15 a.m.  Free Time
Noon:  Lunch
1:00-1:45 p.m.  Lesson 4:  “Noah”
2:00-4:00 p.m.  Recreation
4:00-5:15 p.m.  Free Time
5:30 p.m.  Supper
7:00-7:45 p.m. Lesson 5:  “Moses”  
7:45-8:15 p.m. Free Time
8:30 p.m.  Activity & Snack
10:00 p.m. Vespers  
11:15 p.m. Lights Out
June 17, 2010
8:00 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m.  Matins 
9:30-10:15 a.m.  Lesson 6:  “Naaman” 
10:30-11:15 a.m.  Lesson 7:  Baptism Part 4, “Dead and Alive.”
11:15-11:45 Clean Up dorm rooms, Bath Rooms, meeting room, pack up
Noon  Lunch
Leave for Home

About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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