The theme for the first Sunday in Advent is traditionally considered to be Hope. The scriptures normally shared on the first Sunday speak of a future event that is able to rid the world of its problems. In many places of worship the theme for the day will focus on acknowledging the challenges facing the community but then also providing a reason to hope for a better world in the future. I believe it does not take a whole lot of imagination to transfer this concept over to the world of outdoor ministry.
At both of our sites, Pilgrim Center and Moon Beach, we certainly do have a collection of challenges. Many of our buildings are showing their age and the effects of deferred maintenance that has been put off for too long. In addition to infrastructure that is showing its age, we are also striving to serve a population that is not the same as it was 40 years ago. Many of our churches, which have always been our most significant source of people, are declining in numbers and increasing in age. Our participants also are facing a mind-boggling array of choices for their time, and at times difficult choices need to be made.
In response to these challenges over the last couple of years UCCI has conducted a significant capital campaign. A major goal of the campaign was to address the deferred maintenance while improving the functionality and versatility of a number of buildings. At Moon Beach a number of buildings have been remodeled and converted from seasonal to year-round facilities. At Pilgrim Center we have remodeled the dining halls with new windows, flooring, and roofing which will increase our year-round functionality. We have also begun a major renovation of one of our residential buildings, bringing it up to date from its 1950’s décor and functionality.
All of these improvements will position UCCI to better serve its guests in the future. The world around us is in a constant state of change, if we do not adapt to these changes we run the risk of being left behind. At Pilgrim Center and Moon Beach we are adapting for an exciting future. There truly is much to be hopeful about! We are positioning our outdoor ministry sites to be able to serve the needs of our guests as their needs and desires continue to evolve. I invite you to come explore how you can be part of this hope filled experience!
~ Rev. Nathan Athorp