The Bishop’s E-pistle: Chapel Rock Sunday

The first Sunday in March is always Chapel Rock Sunday in the Diocese of Arizona. The camp and conference center is a jewel of our diocese, and a place many of us love from our experiences at Summer Camp, the Lay Leadership Retreat, Clergy Retreat, and so many other events. This year’s Chapel Rock Sunday has a couple of bittersweet expressions.

First, the sweet part: Chapel Rock launched their updated website this week. Take a look and catch a glimpse of all that Chapel Rock has to offer: joy, celebration, friendship, prayer, and awe at the majesty and variety of God’s creation.

On that website you will see that Summer Camp 2021 applications (for campers and counselors) also opened this week. The Rev. Canon Jana Sundin, Canon for Children and Youth, and our Summer Camp Manager, Deanna Fair, are planning on a creative, faithful camp with many safety protocols to keep our campers and staff safe.

And the bitter: Chapel Rock has been financially challenged by the pandemic more than any of our other institutions in the Diocese of Arizona. The camp lay dormant, with very few visitors, for almost the entire past year. Small groups are beginning to arrive now, and we believe the camp will be back in order later in 2021, but there has been little income for nearly 12 months. I am grateful to the leadership, especially the Executive Director, Kelly Wood, Board President, the Rev. Dan Tantimonaco, and Treasurer, Suzy Mortenson, for making hard decisions about staffing and finances. But a sizeable deficit remains. If you are able to give generously this year, of all years, please do so. The need is great.

But as you can see from the photos on the website: the reward is also great. Here is a place, our place, where children and adults can meet God and delight in the peace that comes from standing in the midst of creation.