Bishop Gretchen M. Rehberg of the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane announced today that Camp Cross, the summer camp ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane, located on Lake Coeur d’Alene, would have to close for their 2020 summer season due to the pandemic.
A video announcement and letter were sent to members of the diocese and Camp Cross alumni and registrants, and can be found at www.spokanediocese.org and http://campcross.org and on their respective social media accounts.
“As we moved through this time, the question of how we can safely hold Camp Cross sessions this summer came up in conversation many times. Camp Director, Canon John Palarine and our Business and Facilities Manager, Skip Hubbard, have worked very hard, in conjunction with our camp nurse and camp teams across the country to learn about what needs to happen for all of us to have a safe and healthy summer at Camp Cross: information that seems to be ever growing and changing. Initially, we simply made the decision to delay the start of camp with the hope that by July we would be in a much better place.
Today, I decided that it is not possible for us to open Camp Cross. This decision was made in consultation with John, Skip, and other members of the staff. This decision is heartbreaking for all of us. My times at Camp Cross are part of the happiest and most formative of my life, as is true for generations of campers from this diocese and beyond. To contemplate a summer without camp is difficult.
However, I am convinced that it is simply impossible for us to offer the programming and fellowship that is central to our Camp Cross experience this summer. As we talked about needed health and safety changes, too many aspects central to our campers’ experience, were being stripped away. Foundational to Camp Cross is offering the inclusive love of God in a community that comes together. Singing, offering worship, eating in community, sharing in sacred circles and small groups, playing games, enjoying waterfront; all of those would have been drastically changed this summer, changed in ways that would have negatively impacted our campers’ experience.” – Bishop Rehberg
Camp Cross joins an ever expanding group of camps on Lake Coeur d’Alene and across the United States who have made the hard, but necessary decision, to close for the summer. It has operated as a sleep away summer camp, diocesan retreat, and training space on 100 acres of McDonoald’s Point’s mostly undeveloped pine forest since 1923. This will be the first season Camp Cross has not operated a summer program since its beginning in 1923.
“In the midst of all of this, we are followers of Jesus, and we are called to continue to walk together in the way of love. Our call is to always act in ways that show love of God and love of neighbor.” – Bishop Rehberg
Camp Cross will maintain any summer staff who wish to work this summer, utilizing them for facilities maintenance and offering leadership formation. Those who registered for camp this year will be contacted about their registration.
“I ask that you keep in your prayers all the campers, counselors, and staff who are now going to have a completely different summer than they hoped for, including all the other camps on the lake and around our country which are also now closed. I ask that you keep in your prayers all those we do not know, who will not experience God’s love through camp this summer. I ask that you pray for the ministry of Camp Cross and for all who have found God during their time there.” – Bishop Rehberg
The Episcopal Diocese of Spokane includes the members from 32 churches from the Cascades of Washington to the Northern Panhandle of Idaho, 2 specialized missions, a summer Camp on Lake Coeur d’Alene, and 2 new Episcopal communities. Bishop Gretchen M. Rehberg is the 9th Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane. The vision and mission of the diocese is “To be creative and compelling witnesses to Jesus Christ in the Inland Northwest,” and, “To form, nurture, and develop disciples of Jesus Christ in strong communities of faith for the transformation of ourselves, our communities and the world.”
A copy of Bishop Rehberg’s full letter addressing the closure can be found https://conta.cc/3bMyizB. To view Bishop Rehberg’s, you can find it on our website at www.spokanediocese.org/dfc/newsdetail_2/3203315.