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Camps Farthest Out/Journey Farthest Out

Winnipesauki Inn
Winni JFO, Lake Winnipesauki, NH
View of Kennebunk from Fanciscian Retreat Center
CFO Acadia, Kennebunk ME
View from Zephyr Point Conference Center
Autumn JFO, Zephyr Point NV

A Way Forward for Stressed Churches, Part Two

Hi Friends,

For several decades people in north America have been going to church less often. Weekend get-away travel has become easier and more affordable, children’s sports are often available on Sunday mornings, shopping is no longer inhibited by blue laws and, generally, our American culture is more diverse, opening up the need for Sunday activities for non-Christians. So, in a way, the decline in Sunday attendance points to a positive change.

Our churches have got to adjust.

Last week I shared that one way the churches can adjust is offering a full day gathering, which I have named Koinonia, held every two or three months. One day is sufficient time for people to connect and grow and bi-monthly meetings are frequent enough for the friendships to strengthen. We had our Koinonia Spring 2023 last Thursday. We filled the place and the day went very well. No doubt, we will do it again.

Would you like to learn more about how to organize and host a “day of peaceful living with rest, relaxation, singing, meditation, inspiration and community sharing?”

If so, I can’t say it can be taught. You have to experience it yourself.

What I can say is that the people who organize and host the three camps I’m introducing have been doing this for years. Their bonds of attachment run deep. The organizations they represent have been hosting camps since the 1930s. They know what they’re doing.

What’s more, while most of the mainstream churches avoided people in Unity, Glenn Clark welcomed “the Christian Scientists, the New Thoughters, followers of Unity”. It’s a funny story, scroll down to the bottom of this web page to read it. My point is that the inclusive spirit of Glenn Clark continues today. We are welcome.

So take a few minutes to click on these links. Read their stories. Catch some of their experience. Imagine bringing the spirit we find there into your church community.

I’m not suggesting forming week-long camps. CFO and JFO already have them, and they do them well. But I do believe that the essential elements of what they do in these week-long camps will inspire your formation of one-day gatherings, just as they did for our Koinonia Spring 2023.

I’ll be at all three of these camps and I am confident there will be other Unity folks as well. And I invite you, as a fellow Unity truth student, to come and see what I’m talking about.

Registration is open for all three. I hope we meet this summer and I hope, together, we can help struggling Unity churches find a better way to help people on their spiritual journey.

One note of caution. If you come, you might not only talk yourself into organizing a day of peaceful living at your chuch, you are likely to become attached to your new friends in CFO and JFO and you’ll want to come back.

Mark Hicks
Sunday, April 23, 2023

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Introducing Camps Farthest Out/Journey Farthest Out

View from Zephyr Point Conference Center
Autumn JFO, Zephyr Point NV
View of Kennebunk from Fanciscian Retreat Center
CFO Acadia, Kennebunk ME

Hi Friends,

Here are two retreat camps occurring in September that offer an opportunity for anyone who seeks greater rhythm and flow of harmony and peace in their life through a daily program of Morning Meditation, Morning Singing, Morning Talk, Rhythms, Creatives, Horizontal Hour & Free Time, Prayer Groups, Evening Singing, Evening Talk, Peace Prayer and Afterglow.

JFO Autumn is at the Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center in Lake Tahoe Nevada. The following week CFO Acadia is at the Franciscan Guest House in Kennebunk, Maine. Each JFO/CFO camp is independent, but they both are related to the movement started in 1930 by Glenn Clark, a Christian mystic and spiritual author who drew quite a bit from New Thought teachings and incorporated many of the ideas we cherish in Unity into his program.

I found at these camps many things attractive to people in Unity, particularly the “Joy Songs”. Charles King, an ordained Unity minister, well-known to many in Unity, often led the music at these camps. And the guys who are leading the music in both camps are of the same cut as Charles King.

Another attractive aspect of the CFO/JFO experience is their afternoon prayer meetings. If anything defined Glenn Clark, it was his commitment to the idea that prayer changes our life. And the same may be said for the camps he founded. We all have differing views of prayer, what it is and how it works. All I can say is that I found the afternoon prayer meetings authentic expressions of committed people looking to God and to one another for inspiration and spiritual solutions to human problems.

The morning activities — Rhythms and Creatives — are playful. The morning and evening talks are primarily personal testimonies of spirit-filled lives, meant to inspire by example. The afternoon prayer meetings are, as I said, authentic expressions of committed people. Each day ends with the Peace Prayer, and the final words of the Peace Prayer — the final words of each day’s program — is “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Afterglow is typically an ice cream social.

These camps are Unity friendly, and they have been so for a long time. Here is what the biographer of Rufus Moseley said about Glenn Clark and his camps:

In the early thirties Glenn Clark, an athletic coach and professor at Macalester Park College in St. Paul, Minnesota, started what later became an extensive movement, the Camps Farthest Out. The camps were primarily retreats in almost every state in the union as well as in some foreign countries where people might go for a week or two of rest, relaxation, and inspiration. Moseley, a close friend of Mr. Clark, was widely used as a speaker in these camps. It soon became known that people of all religious and nonreligious persuasions would be welcome at the camps. This occasioned some criticism of Mr. Clark from narrowly orthodox circles.

To the criticism that Clark’s policy of welcoming everyone was too liberal Rufus replied in essence, ‘Yes, Glenn not only lets in the Methodists, the Baptists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians but also the Christian Scientists, the New Thoughters, followers of Unity, and other groups. If he opens the door much wider, maybe the Lord Jesus Himself will get in!”1

The reason I attended the CFO camp last Fall and attended a JFO camp this summer is: to relax. During my process of becoming an ordained Unity minister, I was lovingly but persistently reminded to pay more attention to self-care. These camps worked for me. I became much more relaxed, both in body as well as mind.

Also, because of the joyful singing, the playful mornings, the authentic prayer sessions and the testimonial talks, I also became much more present to the lives of others who are on their spiritual journey. And I’ll be attending both camps this coming September.

These camps are open to everyone. And I can assure you that the welcome people at these camps provide is genuine. We've all had a tough couple of years. If you’re burned out, and especially if you're a burned out minister, I invite you to give one of these camps a try. And if your minister appears to be stressed, consider offering to pay his or her expenses. If you do, you will be supporting the self-care of Unity ministers, something much needed these days.

Mark Hicks
Sunday, August 14, 2022

  1. Wayne McLain, A Resurrection Encounter: the Rufus Moseley story, Macalester Park Publishing Company, Minneapolis. p221

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