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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Why I am supporting the Manna in the Wilderness Campaign

    August 17, 2020 / By Rev. Bill Mudge

    As you may be aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Aldersgate, Asbury, Casowasco, Sky Lake and Skye Farm to cancel an entire summer camp season as well as numerous church, family, and group retreats and gatherings.  While these sites have begun opening some opportunities, the pandemic will continue to limit what is possible for a long time.  

    These precious ministries have entered a “wilderness time” of uncertainty and scarcity.    In response to this challenge, our conference is making an emergency financial appeal, what we are calling the Manna in the Wilderness Campaign, to support our camp and retreat ministries in these unprecedented times.

    I was moved by a recent conversation which drove home the value of our camp and retreat ministries for others, particularly youth and young adults. 

    The two saints I spoke with are high school students who faithfully attend the Baldwinsville First United Methodist Church (BFUMC).  They not only attend worship and were baptized and confirmed here, but there are MANY ministries of the BFUMC that could not be done well without these disciples.

    As we talked about the challenges of living through this time of pandemic, I guided our conversation towards camp and retreat ministries and Casowasco in particular, knowing how much these two young people love this ministry.  They acknowledged that among all the losses of this crazy time, the one they felt most acutely was their lost time at Casowasco this summer.  They have both been faithful in attendance there for almost 10 years!  

    As I looked at these bright-eyed hopeful disciples, an awful question loomed in my head: 

    What if Casowasco and our other camp and retreat sites NEVER opened again?

    What if these historic disciple-making ministries fell forever – victims of COVID-19 ?

    These are scary questions and we have a role in answering them. Through wars and recessions, in good times and bad, pastors like us have done what is necessary to offer Christ to children, youth and adults through this sacred ground.  The challenge before us today is to do all that we can to ensure that our camp and retreat ministry sites not only survive but are able to thrive into the future. 

    Would you take some time today to pray and send whatever gift you can to help us keep our camp and retreats sites and ministries alive?

    You can designate your gift to a site or Camp and Retreat Ministries: https://campsandretreats.org/donate/. You can also mail your support to Camp & Retreat Ministries, 7481 Henry Clay Blvd, Liverpool, NY 13088.

    Together, we can weather this storm and stand again on this sacred ground when the COVID-19 storms pass.

    TAGGED / Camp and Retreat Ministry (CRM)


    With more than 144,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."