Thirteen people gathered in 1950 at California’s Mount Hermon Conference Center to share common problems and dreams for Christian camping. Out of that nucleus grew the Western Camp and Conference Association. Last month its descendant, Christian Camping International, held its fifth biennial world convention at Green Lake, Wisconsin, with 800 delegates representing leadership reaching one million campers.
Christian camping is growing by leaps and bounds, in the United States and especially overseas, according to camping leaders from fifteen nations. They painted glowing pictures of outdoor opportunities for reaching thousands for Christ in their native lands.
The CCI itself has doubled in the last three years, with a current membership of 2,600 from more than 1,000 camps. “There is a new stance and attitude about camping,” said amiable CCI executive secretary Ed Ouland, “and camping involvement overseas is becoming one of the best tools for missionaries today.”
The up trend in Christian camping here and abroad runs counter to the experience of secular and organizational camps, which suffered declines this past year, according to outgoing CCI president Lee Kingsley of Big Trout Camp, Minnesota. (Tent, wilderness, and recreational-vehicle camping are up on every front, however.)
That imaginative evangelical camp directors have plenty going for them was clearly brought out in the smorgasbord of tightly packed seminars, speeches, and nearly 100 workshops arranged non-stop during the four-day conference. Salesmen in forty exhibit booths in the basement below the Green Lake American Baptist Convention dining hall did a brisk business in camp equipment and aids.
A smooth harmony appeared to exist between advocates, of diverse—but not mutually exclusive—camping philosophies. The contrast between program-, speaker-, and Bible-centered approaches and counselor- and activity-centered, decentralized camping didn’t ruffle the feathers of some camping chiefs the way it did at several past CCI conventions. William Gwinn of Mount Hermon (where the antecedents of CCI began twenty-one years ago), one of the most articulate spokesmen for innovative camping, noted that the camp and conference ministry will misfire at either extreme.
Gwinn said Mount Hermon camperships were up for both 1970 and 1971, echoing the view of others, such as Walter Warkentin of Hume Lake in the Sierra Nevada, that the recent economic sag hadn’t dented the ability of most families to attend Christian camps. Hume Lake attendance shot up 17 per cent last year.
And even in depressed Seattle, where the air went SSTing out of the aerospace industry last spring, Jim Gwinn (Bill’s nephew) of Sammamish Bible Camp doubled the budget for next year after upping camp rates this season. Jim Gwinn, who brings a youthful vigor to the revamped camp, has area young people singing the praises of his unique program. A high of the senior-high week is when Gwinn tows kids, strapped to a parachute, behind a power boat at up to thirty-five miles an hour. The easy rider at the end of the parasail soars 300 feet above the water.
Another Gwinn caper is taking his staff choir to local churches to sing. Cars, headlights on, proceed caravan style to the church. An old hearse heads the procession. Emblazoned on its side is a message: “Not death, but life.”
Despite the boom in camp and conference attendance, not all managers find camp coffers full; costs of everything from land to labor and taxes are increasing. And new leisure habits of Americans, coupled with the advent of twelve-month school systems, three-day weekends, and four-day work weeks, converge to alter camp operations.
“I don’t think Christian camps can stay in business unless they go year round and operate as a commercial enterprise,” cautioned Paul Zeller, head of Horn Creek Lodge at 9,000 feet elevation in the Colorado Rockies. Zeller bought 160 acres at $10 an acre there twenty years ago; now he must pay $5,000 per acre to expand his modern family and youth camps to adjacent land.
A recurring theme at Green Lake was family camping: the family that camps together plays, prays, and stays together, exponents said. Debunking the “family-centered church” as mostly myth, Mount Hermon’s Gwinn told a seminar audience that the average local evangelical church has eroded family life by pulling family members off in different directions. Family camping, he added, can help put humpty-dumpty families together again on a spiritual basis by enabling them to have time in a relaxed atmosphere to do things they normally don’t get around to. The family camp is the most effective ministry going, Gwinn declared.
Larry Haslam, who led a free-wheeling workshop on new concepts in trailer and camper ministries, noted that family and day camping are the fastest-growing segments of the camping ministry of the Southern Baptists, the nation’s largest Protestant body. Haslam stressed that a primary purpose of family group camping is to keep families together, as well as to train and use families for evangelism leadership.
Another concept frequently injected into the sessions was the value of “stress” camping. Pioneered by the Outward Bound movement, stress education has been effectively incorporated into Christian camping programs offered at—among other places—Wheaton College-related Honey Rock Camp in Wisconsin. (See also December 5, 1969, issue, page 43.)
One of stress camping’s chief mentors, veteran Wheaton coach Harvey Chrouser, described it as a “sequence of experiences that tends to exhaust a kid physically, mentally, and spiritually.” Such a “valid hardship,” he explained, extends campers to their limit, gives them a “miniature of life” experience, and brings self-discovery and a new awareness of God.
Rock climbs and rappells with ropes on nearly sheer surfaces scare even the most rugged campers, but such cooperative feats—together with the three-day wilderness “solo”—teach trust and reverence, Chrouser said.
Also well received at Green Lake was Bob Davenport of Taylor (Indiana) University, who arrived with twenty-three Taylorites in their specially outfitted bus that has no seats—only bunk racks. Davenport, widely known for his Wandering Wheels cycling groups (a type of “stress” program), explained that the bus, “Possum 1,” transports young people up to 700 miles anywhere from Taylor at night. By morning, the group, accompanied by Christian counselors, awakens to a brand new environment: the ocean, mountains, large cities. Davenport has also scratched new dirt with a motorcycle ministry to youth. Accidents and injuries from all three ventures have been amazingly minimal.
The major addresses at the CCI conclave gave ample evidence that its planners were plugged into the current youth scene. Samples: Youth for Christ vice-president Paul Robbins on rock music and its influence on youth; Basil Jackson, M.D., D.D., and director of surgery and psychiatry at Marquette University on the Christian understanding of the dope menace; A1 Kuhnle of Gospel Films on the effect of media on today’s youth; and Michigan State University’s Ted Ward, who drew a standing ovation for his thrust on how camping can provide trend-setting patterns in non-formal education—the “in” school of current pedagogy. Stanley Baldwin, a researcher of the occult, described the contagion of witchcraft and Satanism among youth.
Jackson laid major blame for the drug problem on the church “which hasn’t done what it is supposed to,” and on parents, who commit “probably ten times more drug abuse” than young people. Many youth try drugs out of curiosity and the need to identify with peers, he said, and the power of group pressure can be used with wisdom in camping situations to counteract drug problems.
Robbins sparked controversy with his advice to youth workers on rock music: Listen and learn (“Those who oppose rock the most generally know the least about it”); be tolerant (“Participate; there are even some tunes you can sing and whistle; loosen up”); encourage young people to get into creative areas of music; and proclaim the message of Christ.
“Music itself is neither moral nor immoral,” he said. “It’s amoral and can be used for any purpose.” While putting down hard or “acid” rock, Robbins said the key to evaluating the suitability of music as the medium for the Christian message is to ask: What is the culture of your immediate situation?
Through the gift of 108 acres near Yorkville, Illinois, CCI is planning a new $50,000 rustic headquarters and resource library. Some $17,000 had been pledged by the convention’s end. Vincent Craven of Pioneer Camps, Toronto, was named president of CCI until its next meeting in October, 1973, at Glorieta Baptist Assembly, New Mexico.
Youth Workers Consider Man
Prophets of doom and hope met last month at the National Youth Workers Convention in San Diego, California. The 450 delegates and 100 late-comers heard such speakers as Hal Lindsey (The Late Great Planet Earth), Francis Schaeffer, and Robert Tschirgi, professor of neuroscience at the University of California at San Diego. Although Francis Schaeffer was the major drawing card, Tschirgi made the conference authentically informative.
A member of the academic elite and a non-Christian, Tschirgi is eminently familiar with the condition of contemporary culture and the student world. He sprinkled his lecture on the potential death of man with intellectual humor, but grew more somber as he outlined the horrors of modern technological advances. He saw genetic, psychological, or neurological control as the only possible way to guarantee man’s continuing existence.
The second evening of the conference Francis Schaeffer followed Tschirgi with warnings and detailed descriptions of man as seen by scientists: a soul-devoid patchwork of chemicals and nerve impulses reacting to environmental stimuli. Schaeffer urged Christians to wake up to the dangers of new scientific and psychological techniques designed to manipulate man. He singled out the genetic and neurological methods of behaviorist B. F. Skinner, whose new book Beyond Freedom and Dignity rejects the concepts of individual liberty and personal dignity—concepts vital to a Christian world-view.
Tschirgi, too, rejected such manipulation, but without an adequate alternative. Schaeffer and the other speakers presented Christianity as the only alternative to the views of behaviorists such as Skinner. They prophesied hope—rather than doom—for man through Jesus Christ.
Bad Day For Blackwoods
Vote-buying is unethical, even by the old stereotyped Southern politician’s standards. Certainly a Christian singing for the Lord would agree with that. But the Gospel Music Association knows there are exceptions.
The GMA, located in Nashville, Tennessee, presents annual Dove Awards for the best recordings of gospel music among its members. This year it invalidated the balloting because the Blackwood Brothers of Memphis swept the awards—buying votes to do it.
As the winner of each category was announced at the awards banquet October 9, it was obvious that the Blackwood Brothers had the votes. “Grave doubts arose in the minds of many association members” about the “unethical solicitation and influencing of voters,” commented a GMA press release. James Blackwood, too, apparently had grave doubts; the next day he wrote a letter to the GMA board of directors admitting impropriety and requesting a reballoting at his expense. He also returned the awards.
President Les Beasley appointed an investigating committee headed by board member Herman Harper. In a touchy all-day session October 25 the committee met with the board (James Blackwood is a member) to present its findings and recommend action.
The evidence pointed to unethical action by the Blackwood Brothers, but the board decided against reballoting this year. No personal action was taken against the group, who in the three years of the Dove Awards have been reprimanded three times. Why wasn’t anything done? According to Harper, the Blackwoods broke no association rules or bylaws. The constitution doesn’t specify that it’s wrong to solicit votes through direct mail or advertising, though Harper added that the GMA has “tried to encourage people not to formally solicit votes.”
James Blackwood, head of the Blackwood organization, supplied most of the information the investigating committee needed. Although the GMA stated that other groups also tampered with the votes, the association headquarters declined to say who. Harper said there was no substantial evidence to back what he called “rumors.”
Blackwood issued a statement expressing full agreement with the decision of the board of directors. He said he took full responsibility “for what I consider unethical solicitation of votes by members of our organization” and would “personally guarantee there will be no repetition.” GMA supplied examples of Blackwood impropriety, such as: “Return this card to the Blackwood office as soon as you vote so we can register your vote and we will mail you a nice gift.”
Did Blackwood know before the awards banquet of the organization’s vote-advertising campaign? The answer is unclear, even from Blackwood. One man at GMA headquarters speculated that he might have been suspicious, but during July and August of last year (the time of the heaviest advertising) Blackwood was conducting a Holy Land tour.
To insure that such an embarrassment doesn’t happen again, the president intends to set up a committee to add ethical guidelines to the constitution and to study a new balloting system. But whether the new rules will allow the board to remove violators from the GMA is an open question. Will Harper be a member of the new investigating committee? he was asked by CHRISTIANITY TODAY. “I hope not,” he sighed.
CHERYL A. FORBES
Deep In The Heart Of Quebec
The Catholic Pentecostal movement (see July 16 issue, page 31) is on the rise throughout Canada, even in the Catholic heartlands of Quebec.
Twelve groups numbering from sixty to 200 meet weekly in Montreal, including large gatherings at the St. Augustine of Canterbury church.
Charismatic groups have been formed in French-speaking seminaries, monasteries, and convents in the eastern township districts of Quebec. Twenty-two of the thirty nuns in one convent are charismatics, according to Martin Ranalli, a Catholic who is the new fulltime manager of the Mass Rally for Christ, an ecumenical charismatic organization (see April 9 issue, page 38).
The Mass Rally has held several large public charismatic meetings this year, has opened an office to assist the charismatic prayer groups sprouting in French Canada, and will soon sponsor a four-day appearance of faith-healing evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman in Montreal.
Catholic charismatic priest Jean-Paul Regimbal asserts the Mass Rally movement is one “of the many signs of the time given to the world as a warning that, indeed, the Kingdom of God is close at hand, and that the glorious return—the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as Lord of Lords and King of Kings—is imminent.”
LESLIE K. TARR
The Bolting Bishops
A virtual uprising by the Ukrainian rite highlighted closing sessions of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican this month. Cardinal Josyf Slipyj touched off the revolt with a stinging rebuke of the Vatican’s rapprochement with Communism. Speaking in the presence of Pope Paul, the 79-year-old exiled archbishop of Lviv accused the Vatican of ignoring persecution of Ukrainians while interceding for Latin Catholics.
“Because of diplomatic negotiations,” he said, “the Ukrainian Catholics who have suffered so much … are pushed aside as inconvenient witnesses of past evils.”
Slipyj subsequently called together fifteen other Ukrainian bishops in what they described as a synod of their own. The move was in defiance of the Vatican, which has said that Ukrainians cannot convene their own synod as other Eastern rite churches do because they do not have a definite geographical area. Ukrainian Catholic leaders contend that Vatican II guaranteed them the privilege of managing their own affairs without severing ties with Rome. They asked the Pope’s blessing on the new Ukrainian synod, which met at the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus near the Colosseum in Rome.
Meanwhile at the Vatican the Synod of Bishops marked the finale of the month-long meeting with a series of votes on a wide range of issues. The principle of celibacy for priests was reaffirmed but the bishops seemed to be leaving the door open for more ordinations of married men in special situations. In any case, the prelates’ decisions are not binding on the Pope.
The synod may be best remembered for the speech by Slipyj. He ignored the five-minute time limit imposed on all speakers and went on for twelve minutes without interruption. One report said the Pope listened without giving any visible reaction.
“The Ukrainian Catholics who gave mountains of bodies and shed rivers of blood for the Catholic faith and for the Apostolic See are still undergoing very serious persecution,” the cardinal declared. “And what is worse, nobody is defending them.”
He further charged that “people are compelled to go back to the catacombs to celebrate the liturgy. Thousands of priests and faithful have been imprisoned or have been deported, and now church diplomacy looks on Ukrainian Catholics as a nuisance.”
Slipyj is the recognized senior bishop among Ukrainian Catholics although the Vatican has not given him the status of a patriarch. He spent eighteen years in Soviet prison camps after the Ukrainian Catholic Church was forced into the Russian Orthodox Church by the Kremlin. He was released in 1963 and has since lived quietly in Rome. His synod speech was the first he has spoken out publicly.
Presently the Ukrainian Catholic Church is outlawed in Ukraine, where it is estimated there are six million followers. Another million or two Ukrainian Catholics are scattered throughout the world.
Nearly 42,000 black, brown, and white Baptists representing six of the eight Texas Baptist conventions got together in Houston’s Astrodome last month in a meeting hailed by leaders as the biggest in Baptist history.
Black soloist Myrtle Hall and an 8,000-voice choir sang, astronaut James Irwin gave his testimony, and three prominent preachers thumped home the Gospel. They were Dr. Caesar Clark, pastor of the black Good Street Baptist Church in Dallas and editor of the National Baptist Voice; Dr. Rudy Hernandez, pastor of the First Mexican Baptist Church of Corpus Christi; and Dr. Kenneth Chafin, evangelism head of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Hours earlier, 12,000 youths—many of them longhaired Jesus people—piled into the nearby Astrohall for a music-heavy Jesus rally. More than 1,500 decided to join the Jesus ranks in response to an invitation by youth evangelist Richard Hogue, 25. No stranger to many of those assembled, Hogue last spring led nearly 3,000 to Christ in a months-long crusade at Houston’s First Baptist Church (see March 12 issue, page 30).
The Texas-sized experiment in togetherness was the dreamchild of Dr. Jimmy Allen, pastor of First Baptist Church in San Antonio and president of the (Southern) Baptist General Convention of Texas. He conceived the idea two years ago and met monthly thereafter with the presidents of the Mexican and four black Baptist groups to midwife it into existence. Only two Texas Baptist bodies—black and white separatists—refused to cooperate. All six groups convened their annual conventions simultaneously in different halls before and after the giant love-in.
At the Baptist General Convention meeting leaders clashed with small-town and rural messengers (delegates), mostly pastors, on the issue of separation of church and state and emerged from the ruckus defeated. Delegates voted 1,466 to 724 to reject a request to allow Baptist hospitals to receive federal loans and grants. Immediately, Houston’s Memorial Baptist Hospital system and the University of Corpus Christi won release from the Baptist fold to go their own way, and officials predict other institutions will soon follow.
W. A. Criswell of Dallas, former SBC president, warned vainly that Texas Baptists would become a “dying sect” if their institutions are lost through lack of support.
In other action the convention voted to oppose the so-called prayer amendment to the Constitution, calling it “a version of state-sponsored religion.”
EDWARD E. PLOWMAN
Religion In Transit
A boiler exploded during a Sunday-school session last month at First Baptist Church of Marietta, Ohio, killing the high-school teacher and four of his pupils, and injuring fourteen others.
Methodists will be tapped for $400 million for support of higher education in a campaign slated to begin in 1973.
Twenty Protestant and ten Catholic parishes in New York City have each agreed to “adopt” a cellblock of a Brooklyn prison housing 1,500 inmates. Church members will help prisoners with personal problems and assist them in obtaining counseling, therapy, jobs, and personal necessities.
Citing the “lack of gospel orientation” in a Sunday-school course entitled “The Journey to Freedom,” Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod president J. A. O. Preus said it is being “completely revised” to purge its use of the documentary theory of Genesis authorship and the dual authorship of Isaiah. Synod officials pledged a doctrinal review of all other materials published so far.
The Southern Baptist Sunday School Board under pressure junked 140,000 copies of a new quarterly containing a photo-essay that “could have been construed as improper promotion of integration in churches,” officials said.
The 30 millionth copy of Good News for Modern Man, the American Bible Society’s New Testament in Today’s English Version, was distributed last month. Elsewhere, author Kenneth Taylor autographed copies of his paraphrase, The Living Bible, for the cast of “Godspell,” the off-Broadway hit.
A New York City councilman says he will call for the ouster of the city’s Board of Education if it does not refute the proposals of board president Isaiah E. Robinson, who says that “if astrology is correct behavioral problems in class are caused by a conflict in birth signs between pupils or between teacher and pupils.” Robinson wants educators to use astrology along with “every art and science” to get to know pupils better.
Dr. Jack Hyles, pastor of the 15,000-member First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, broke ground this month for his new Hyles-Anderson Bible College, to open next fall. Dr. Robert J. Billings, principal of the church’s high school, has been named president.
In response to a 1971 General Assembly mandate the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. (Southern) is tooling up for evangelism. Executive secretary John F. Anderson has been relieved of all other administrative duties and assigned to spearhead an evangelistic drive. Extra money has been budgeted.
Deciding “the will of God,” a blindfolded Egyptian boy pulled one of three assembly-chosen names from a box and thus made a former army officer, Bishop Shenuda, 48, the “117th successor to Saint Mark” as patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church and pope of Alexandria.
Jesus people showed up at a Berkeley concert by folksinger Joan Baez Harriswith “Dear Joan” letter-tracts. Mrs. Harris said that she didn’t dig their “mail” and that if Jesus were here “he’d be organizing” for the Revolution. But after singing the words “Jesus washed my sins away” in “O Happy Day,” she injected: “I wish it were that easy.”
Supreme Court nominee Leslie F. Powell, 64, a former president of the American Bar Association, is a Richmond, Virginia, Presbyterian. And Assistant Attorney General William H. Rehnquist 47, another nominee, is a member of a Lutheran (LCA) church in Bethesda, Maryland. “There are no more regular members in the congregation than the Rehnquists,” said their pastor.
Dan Piatt, a twenty-year veteran member of the Billy Graham team, is now president of the new association for the Final Advance of Scripture Translation (FAST), formed to help translate the Bible into the 2,000 language groups still without Scripture.
National Association of Evangelicals general director Clyde W. Taylor was elected international secretary of the World Evangelical Fellowship at a recent meeting in Belgium.
Vanderbilt University Divinity School professor John R. Killinger, a Southern Baptist, has been named to an eleven-member World Council of Churches study team to investigate the meaning of salvation.
A South African judge found Gonville A. ffrench-Beytagh, Anglican dean of Johannesburg, guilty of complicity in “terroristic activities” and sentenced him to five years in prison. He had pleaded innocent to charges that included plotting to overthrow the white government of South Africa (see September 24 issue, page 47).
The new presidents of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature are Robert Michaelson (University of California at Santa Barbara) and Walter Harrelson (Vanderbilt), respectively. More than 1,500 college and seminary professors attended the joint conventions of the two groups last month in Atlanta.
Evangelist Billy Graham may—or may not—hold a crusade in Rome’s 15,000-seat sports palace in 1973. About 150 Italian evangelical churches have invited him, provided he “does not have contacts with the Pope or other representatives of the Catholic hierarchy before, during, or after his addresses.” But Graham, who says he will decide in a month or so, says if he comes it will be with “no strings” attached.
Five thousand families in Quang Ngai province of Viet Nam are being helped by the World Relief Commission of the National Association of Evangelicals following severe devastation by Typhoon Hester. Bread supplied by WRC was for a time the only food available, according to a WRC official.
Radio Ceylon has removed a 14-year-old restriction on evangelical broadcasting, and the Back to the Bible Broadcast was first in line to sign a contract.
Both the South Vietnamese and United States governments have officially designated the Christian and Missionary Alliance as a volunteer relief agency in South Viet Nam. Spokesmen for the CMA, which founded the Vietnamese Protestant church, say official status will expand relief work.
The 1.2-million-member Methodist Church of South Africa is integrated and is on record opposing apartheid, but it severed all links with the national University Christian Movement, which had become a controversial all-black student organization. Backers of the move argued that the UCM lacked bi-racial composition. Older black churchmen reacted bitterly, were soothed somewhat when conference delegates decreed that yearly salary increases for blacks will be raised four times as much as those of whites to reach parity.
Baptists—235 of them from twenty-two churches in Texas, New Mexico, and Tennessee—held a week-long evangelism crusade in seventeen Spanish cities at the invitation of Spanish Baptist churches. Crusade director W. H. Jackson of Abilene, Texas, reported 300 conversions, including a nun who wants to train in the United States and return to Spain as a Baptist missionary.
RICHARD L. EVANS, 65, apostle of the Mormon church and soothing “voice” of the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir radio broadcast since 1930; in Salt Lake City, of neurological complications from pneumonia.
WILLIAM H. LEHMANN, 102, the oldest pastor of the American Lutheran Church; in Minneapolis.
ISABELO DE LOS REYES, supreme bishop of the 2.5-million-member Philippine Independent Church (Anglican); in Manila.
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