Our final piece of the UCCI mission statement is the act of performing ministry. The verb performing is used in multiple setting in our language, a musician performs a song, a surgeon performs a surgical procedure and here at Pilgrim Center and at Moon Beach we perform ministry. There is an element of precision to what performers do, and yet there is also a significant amount of room for interpretation and artistic talent. Without the individuality the song has no feeling, the surgeon is not able to adapt to the specific patient and we are unable to meet the needs of specific guests.
Ministry is not something that easily fits a specific mold or method it needs to meet people where they are at in life. Ministry is something that needs to constantly adapt and evolve for the audience it is attempting to reach. Many of our churches encourage its members to consider themselves to be ministers to one another and to the greater community. In this model the clergy is viewed as a local theologian, preacher, and pastor, but not the only minister in the community. In that same way here at UCCI we encourage everyone to view what they are doing as ministry. We may have ordained clergy at our sites, but they are not the only ones performing ministry, they might be setting a tone or providing an example, but they are not the carrying out the tasks. Ministry is provided in how we serve a meal, in the quality of our hospitality. Ministry is performed when we encourage a young camper to try something new, or when we assure that same camper they will be ok without Mom for a couple of nights. Ministry is performed when the senior high camper is given a voice at the table and when a senior citizen is given quality time with a grandchild. Ministry is happening when a Camp Awesome camper is allowed to be themselves in a non-threatening environment. Ministry is performed whenever we are able to open our guests up to the love and presence of God in their lives.
God’s presence is experienced in many different ways and our ministry reflects that diversity. I give thanks for the many different ways our staff is able to convey God’s presence each and every day at Moon Beach and Pilgrim Center.
~ Rev. Nathan Athorp