Christians from Europe and Asia Meet in the Krkonoše Mountains
A trip to the Sněžka mountain, Indian dances, face painting, discussions about God’s plan for our salvation – these were some of the activities that united young believers from Europe and Asia at the International Camp, which was organized by the youth department of the ECCB and took place in the first week of August.
The main topic of the week was “Discovering God’s will for our lives”. Participants from South Korea, India, Scotland, Ukraine and the Czech Republic came to study the Bible together and spend time with people that have a similar worldview. They were mostly students: students of theology, social work, music schools, secondary schools or civil engineering. The common faith and the will to share it together was the element that brought everybody together, despite the different languages.
International Family Camp
A Czech-Scottish family stay took place from 6 to 13 August 2016 in the camp of J. A. Komenský in Běleč nad Orlicí. The organisers were Štěpán Janča and Karen Gillon, who prepared several reflections concerning the topic called “On the Road”.
This year was the first edition of this international camp and nobody was sure how the participants would deal with the two languages spoken, and whether or not the Scottish brothers and sisters would enjoy their stay at this Czech camp. However, it turned out there was no reason for anxiety: language was not a problem at all during the games, the programme was very rich and included the usual all-time favourites such as Olympic games, boat riding, a camp fire and hiking in the local nature. In addition, the Scottish participants prepared a Scottish night for everybody, which was a big success.
Letohrad-Annapolis Camp 2016 through a participant´s eyes
On the 1st to the 5th of August, there was an English Camp in Letohrad. The Camp has been a tradition for the past 6 years and has become very popular in the area. The Camp is a Czech and American church cooperation. The Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren in Letohrad hosts the occasion and enables the Annapolis Presbyterian Church members to come over and help organise the camp, but also see and explore the Czech Republic. This year, as the camp is very much favoured by the locals and people from near-by villages, there was a total of around 60 children wanting to attend.
Each year the camp has a very unique message and allows children to not only experience a pleasurable, educative time in English, but also grasp the idea of what a church atmosphere feels like and learn more about the Holy Scripture. This year the camp was comprised of so many fun, yet meaningful and valid messages. The theme of the camp this year was heroes. The idea may seem very simplistic and not very interlinked with the church at all, though as the week progressed you could see how significant it was. The five days of the camp were each set with a word of the day. The words were peace, justice, kindness, humbleness and love, all of which were deeply connected to the Bible’s Scripture and its message. I liked how the message and theme were very simple, yet very important. Many children were raised in a non-religious setting and so giving the children the opportunity to experience a religious camp enabled them to see what a church can be like, but also not forcing them to pray or say anything they were not sure about, yet of course encouraging them to understand.
The day camp was set up in a several stations, all of which the children would by the end of the day visit. The stations were Sport, Music, English, and Worship. The children were separated into different groups depending on their age. There were 5 groups. A, B, C, D, E, with A being the oldest children around the age of 12 and E being the youngest. Each group would start at a different station, but eventually all groups would get to visit them all. The stations had activities linked to the theme of the camp and displayed the message with clarity and creativity. Each station was located in a different part of the church, which also influenced the feeling of each individual station and made it feel new every time a group would move to another station after 45min. Each station had one member from the Annapolis church, who would lead the group, and a translator, who of course had to translate for the children.
I was helping in the Worship station. This was most certainly the most peaceful of them all. It was the opportunity for the children to reflect and understand the word of the day. The lesson was thoroughly imbued with a sense of gratitude and learning, what the words of the day meant in the Bible and how they could implement them into their everyday lives. The words and theme started to connect up as the week progressed. At the Worship station we were able to understand that we are as heroes in that we can wear the armour of God. These were things like the shoes of peace or the shield of faith. Over the week the children also got to know different forms of prayer or reflection. This was something very new for the children, as it bestowed new and less traditional forms or types of prayer. This was for example walking prayer or “visio divina”, which was a visual form of prayer where the children looked at a picture and thought about what emotions the picture evoked in them. The other stations were of course also very much based on the meaning. For example in the crafts station they made their heroic armour out of different materials and in the music lessons they made up their so called energisers to show to parents at the end of the week and also sports activities which were linked to trust etc.
By the end of the week children were able to experience and learn different skills and understand various aspects of faith. The week was concluded with a performance for the parents to portray all the things the children learned and receive their English speaking certificates. It was a very moving experience even for me. I could see how well planned out it was and absorb the joyful atmosphere.
Sara, student, 15