Hello, everyone! My name is Kristy Moore. I am a member here at St. Paul along with my husband, John Christianson, and our two boys, Isak and Jordan. As many of you know, Camp Calumet
is the outdoor ministry of the ELCA New England Synod. It is a beautiful, lakefront, year-round camp and conference center. St. Paul has a long history with Calumet, notably two certain former members who are now running the camp, Executive Director, Karl Ogren, and Director of Development, Knute Ogren. I remember coming to St. Paul on many occasions related to Calumet, whether it be our winter staff reunions, or hosting a Bunch of Guys concert during their Take a Breath "tour". St. Paul continues to support Calumet's ministry.
For the last 6 years, Calumet has fielded teams in the 200-mile relay race called Reach the Beach (RTB). The race runs from Bretton Woods to Hampton Beach and takes over 24 hours to complete. A team of 12 splits into 2 vans and make their way, one leg at a time, 36 legs total, from the mountains to the beach. It is also our annual fundraiser for Calumet’s campership fund. On Sept 16-17, I ran with Calumet again this year, for my second RTB. My 16 miles total were beautiful, and yes, tiring on only an hour of sleep! But, it is rewarding knowing the money we raise helps young people and families around New England (and beyond!) to be able to experience the beauty and Grace of Calumet. We have raised over $80,000 this year!
I wanted to take a moment to share with you all what this place means to me. John and I met as kids at Calumet and worked on staff together for many springs and summers. This place is my tonic, my refuge, my solace. It is the place where I fell in love with the Lord, the Earth, and my husband. It is the place where my older son learned to ride a two wheeler, and where my younger son first told me he loved me. It is the place where the sun broke through the clouds the exact moment I entered the outdoor chapel with my parents on either side of me in my white dress and the lyrics of Just As I Am
filled my ears. Yep, we got married in the place where we met, the place where we both learned about lifelong friendship, hard work, social justice, leadership, God's Grace, the joy of children, and the healing power of the breeze along the lakeshore.
The real beauty of camp is that it taught me how to be ME in the midst of those confusing mixed messages of life and love and religion and morality. Are you here or there? Are you devoutly obedient or a charlatan? Are you reserved and reverent or shallow and shameful? Well, maybe I'm both and neither! Aren't we all? Sinner and saint, right? But this place, this temple, allows that paradox to have a space, and makes you feel safe to unpack it in the calm shadow of the Cross or in the glassy mirror of the lake at sunrise.
And now, at the end of every summer I have the privilege of witnessing the next generation fall in love with it too. My friends and I get to watch our kids create, compete, explore, concede, sing, and soar like we did. As we walk down the many paths between the soccer field and the lakefront cabins, or between the archery field and the mini-golf course, or up the nearby mountain trails past all the family campsites, I watch them as they bike side by side in front of us and wonder what secrets they'll keep for each other... and from us. I delight in the fact that they will protect each other the way my friends and I protected each other. What will their camp stories be? In the meantime, I am giddy with the knowledge that my camp story continues to be written, not as a young camper, or a counselor, or a trip leader and wilderness first responder, not as a department head, and not as a leadership trainer for the next generation... but as a Mom.
Calumet is the single most influential place in my faith formation and that is why I join the efforts in running Reach the Beach, so that campership can be available to ANYone who needs one. Many of you have experienced the joy of Calumet yourselves. Please consider a donation to contribute to these funds that allow children, who would not otherwise be able to afford camp, to go and have the best week or two of their lives! You can learn more about Calumet, RTB, and how to make a donation at: www.calumet.org/followtherace. Even though the race is over, donations are still coming in! Thanks so much.