Enjoying God’s Creation This Summer

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting several churches this spring, including First Baptist Church in Richland Center on May 14. I drove there from the Green Lake Conference Center and took all the back roads across the middle of our state. The meadows were so green, marked with crisp rivers and tall trees, along with the sweeping farmlands and rolling hills. As one member of the church said, “how can someone look at that beautiful landscape and not believe in the God of creation?” Indeed!

Speaking of God’s beauty in creation, I am looking forward to being camp pastor at Camp Tamarack this summer, first for Sr. High Camp June 11-15, and then for Grandily (Family) Camp July 5-8. I’m excited to be with our high school youth soon, so if you know a teenager who hasn’t registered yet, get them registered asap! Grandily Camp in July is for parents, grandparents, children, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins—all are welcome! Visit www.camptamarack.org for more information and get your registration in. This would be a great opportunity for me to get to know you better and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and our greater ABCWI family at Camp Tamarack!

We know that sometimes things wind down a bit in the summer, and Sunday attendance can dip, but we also know that it is important to be with friends, family, and creation. It is important to rest and take care of ourselves. It is important to remember that we are God’s beloved children. However, I encourage you, even if you’re traveling and visiting family or taking a vacation, to visit a church on Sunday. God calls us to be in community with one another. If you’re within our state, consider visiting another of our ABCWI churches. You can find a list and map here: https://www.abcofwi.org/mission- vision/churches-and-associations/

Besides Camp Tamarack, I will also be at the American Baptist Biennial Mission Summit in Puerto Rico June 21-28. I hope to see some of you there as we worship, fellowship, attend to business, and remember that we are part of the wondrous body of Christ as American Baptist Churches, USA.

I hope you find ways of enjoying creation as spring gives way to summer. Even if you can’t get away, our cities have some beautiful parks, lakes, and rivers. When we lived in Seattle, our church had a service called “Wild Church” where we met in a park once a month and had a brief worship service of prayer, scripture, song, and a short message, and then we would go for a walk taking notice of God’s creation around us. Even in the cities we human beings have built, God’s creatures are present. In what ways does God’s creation speak to us, in the city or country, on the farmland or in the parks?

Perhaps, like me, you might find yourself softly singing,

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world,
I rest me in the thought,
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—
God’s hand the wonders wrought.

With you on the journey of faith,

Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell, Regional Executive Minister

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