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Connecting Summer Camp and Your Congregation

The Diocese of California is incredibly lucky to have two summer camps for our youth to enjoy. St. Dorothy's Rest is the oldest continually operating summer camp west of the Mississippi river. The Bishop's Ranch is known for it's beautiful setting and commitment to sustainable, locally sourced (not to mention delicious) food. How can your congregation better connect to these camps this summer - and any other camps your kiddos might attend?

1) First and foremost, pray for them — the camps, the staff, the campers, the weather, the possible homesickness, all the unexpected surprises of camp, etc. In your daily prayers and in the prayers of the people on Sunday mornings. If you know staff and campers personally, pray for them by name. You can also add a version of this written in the style of the Prayers of the People, Form IV:

  • For all those spending time living in community at summer camp, especially St. Dorothy's Rest and The Bishop's Ranch, the staff and the campers;
    For those who go to nature to seek God's presence and serve God's people.
2) If you know a camper or staff member and when they'll be at camp, send letters. It's best to mail them a few days before the kids scheduled to arrive at camp so the letter has time to travel via snail mail. This reminds the camper or counselor that their church family loves them and can't wait to hear the stories when they return. It's also great if they're not at one of our diocesan camps. You can send mail to them anywhere!

3) Schedule a few Camp Sundays throughout your school year. Talk with the staff at St. Dorothy's and The Ranch about coming to your congregation to lead Sunday School in camp activities and games, to preach (and not just about camp), to make s'mores and eat camp snacks at coffee hour. Kids who have been to camp can lead songs and teach everyone about camp traditions. 

4) Plan your parish retreats with the help of diocesan and camp staff. Caren and Amy both have experience with family camps and intergenerational formation. They are available to help plan or lead or just consult with you about retreat ideas. The camp staff can help everyone in your congregation experience some of the best parts of summer camp.

Many of us have fond memories of our time at summer camp. It is exciting to be able to share those experiences and help the next generation make their own memories. 

- Caren Miles

Amy Cook
Faith Formation
Working Group Head
Caren Miles
Associate for Faith Formation
Whole & Healthy Church Coordinator

Harry Potter Day Planning

If you are interested in helping plan and work at Harry Potter day, we will have three Zoom meetings this summer to manage the mischief (and gather volunteers)

Wednesday, July 17, 11 a.m.
Monday, July 29, 6 p.m.
Sunday, August 11, 2 p.m.

If you can make one or all of these meetings, please RSVP to Caren Miles and she will send you the link. 


Vibrant Faith Institute

Every church wants vibrant faith formation for all ages and generations that promotes lifelong spiritual growth and discipleship. Our 21st century world presents congregations and their leaders with significant challenges and new possibilities for creating dynamic faith formation.

The Vibrant Faith Institute is designed for leaders who care about the future of faith formation in their communities—whether they are full-time, part-time, or volunteer leaders. Pastors, faith formation directors, and coordinators of children, youth, adult, or family ministries can all benefit from our Vibrant Faith Institute courses.

The courses are not free, but the Diocese of California does have some partial scholarships available for lay training. Applications available HERE.

For more information about the Vibrant Faith Institute or other options for continuing education for formation leaders, contact Amy Cook

From the Resource Center: 
Living the Questions

Two great programs from Living the Questions to consider for your fall/winter classes:

Uppity Women of the Bible is a four volume series comprised of a total of 25 engaging 5-15 minute sessions. Using the Hebrew Bible, Professor Dr. Lisa Wolfe presents just what your group needs for lively, thoughtful discussion of Ruth, The Song of Songs, Esther, and Judith. Each DVD can be checked out separately. Supplemental material and themes are included. Each session ends with discussion questions so that participants can understand, debate, and explore the issues raised by the stories of these often misunderstood Biblical women. 

ProFuture Faith: The Prodigal Species Comes Home  (new, just arrived)

From the publisher - Having “squandered our inheritance on profligate living,” we are a prodigal species. Industrial civilization and our insatiable appetites have us hurtling toward irreversible consequences – not in some distant future, but right now. The good news is it’s not too late. At the intersection of science, spirituality, and sustainability is a deep love of life and a passion for our posterity. The Rev. Michael Dowd presents a dynamic 8-session DVD and internet-based discussion course that bridges the gap between head and heart, science and faith. Participants will be guided on a journey that accepts what is inevitable, avoids what is futile, and be inspired to attend to what is urgent. Supplemental material and themes are included.

Note from the Resource Center: We maintain the yearly licenses for all programs from Living the Questions. 


We have so many great events happening all around the Diocese, here are two we want to highlight. Check out ALL the events on the DioCal Calendar.

Whole & Healthy Church Training for Small Group Leaders

Friday, August 11 from 2 to 4 p.m. at CDSP all leaders (lay and ordained) in charge of a small group ministry — including Education for Ministry, Eucharistic Visitors, Stephen Ministers, and other adult ministries are welcome to this Safe Church training specifically for folks who work with adults. 

To Register, email Caren Miles, Whole & Healthy Church Coordinator. 

Save the Date: Beloved Community Training Day in the East Bay

This fall St. Paul's, Oakland will host a Beloved Community Training day on Saturday, September 21. 

The day will include required training sessions for Eucharistic Visitors, Eucharistic Ministers, and Whole & Healthy Church Training, along with an array of workshops for lay leaders in all areas of ministry.

Registration will open in late-summer.

When: Saturday, September 21
Where: St. Paul's, Oakland, 114 Montecito Avenue
Contact: Amy Cook, Working Group Head for Faith Formation,

Other Upcoming Events

9 | Whole & Healthy Church Small Group Training | Church Divinity School of the Pacific
9-11 | EfM Mentor Training | Church Divinity School of the Pacific
24 | Godly Play Commuter Training | Trinity, Menlo Park

21 | Beloved Community Training | St. Paul's Oakland 
21 | Godly Play Commuter Training | Trinity, Menlo Park
30 - Oct 2 | Clergy Retreat | The Bishop's Ranch

12 | Godly Play Commuter Training | Trinity, Menlo Park
25-26 | Diocesan Convention | Grace Cathedral

2 | Fall General Confirmations | St. Paul's Oakland 
8 - 10 | Good Will Camp | St. Dorothy's Rest
16 | Harry Potter Day | Grace Cathedral


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