This week brought a significant change to Pilgrim Center. After lengthy discussion, the cabins known as Sheboygan and Fond du Lac were removed along with a large tree that stood beside them. It is important to acknowledge the tremendous number of campers who began their Pilgrim Center experience with a stay in those cabins and the many conversations those walls and that tree have witnessed.
At one time these cabins were conceivably premier housing, containing not only electricity, but heating and indoor plumbing also. The patio looking out over the lake must have been a prime gathering spot at one time. How many bedtime stories were shared in those bunks and how many lifelong friendships were started as whispered conversations after lights out? I will never forget walking in the door midway through a Tenderfoot camp only to find the entire floor strewn with clothing that was simply shed as the campers embarked on their next adventure. Who has time to pick up when adventure awaits and who needs carpeting? Like all of our spaces, these were truly sacred facilities in their own right. But just as the tree had developed a weak trunk, the building had also declined past the point of reasonable revitalization. A quick day’s worth of work for the excavator has left us with an opening where the building once stood.
Located at the bottom of our parking lot and driveway, the building was also concealing an amazing initial view of Green Lake. After we remove the debris from the tree and do a little bit of judicious tree trimming our guests are going to be greeted with a tremendous view of beautiful Green Lake, certainly one of our largest assets. With the space previously occupied by the building we are envisioning a gathering area that will not only greet our guests but allow them to linger and participate in those same sacred conversations that previously occurred within the walls of the building. Instead of being utilized by just the campers staying in the building, the space can be utilized by all of our guests in the future. None of our buildings will last forever and even the grand old trees reach a point at which they come down, but their removal opens up space for new experiences on a new day. Our sacred conversations and the relationships that form around them will last long after the physical trappings have been transformed into something different.