This summer was a wonderful whirlwind of experiences! I still find myself looking back on my time this past summer and wondering where the time went and how I crammed so much into such a short period of time. Between two weeks of camp, Vacation Bible School, weekly worship planning, and all the details that happen from week to week, I was awarded the wonderful gift of being able to stretch myself and try new things.

My summer started off with a trip to Camp Akulana for a work day. Several of us spent time weeding flower beds, mowing grass, and getting cabins ready for hundreds of children and teens to use for the summer. It was wonderful to be able to help Beth and Art Wright as they prepared for a full summer of camp ministry. Then came decorating the sanctuary for Pentecost- what a colorful, balloon filled evening that was! And who knew that I would be able to take that experience and have it come full-circle at the end of the summer as we prepared to fill Sterling’s office with 800 balloons to welcome him home! That’s Church, my friends.

July was filled with camp- two , to be exact. I had the opportunity to travel with Judy to Music and Worship Arts camp at Eagle Eyrie. There, I had the opportunity to watch our children and youth share their gifts and talents with others from around the state. And, I was officially welcomed into the Music Camp group by being ooga-booga’d on the last night of camp. Want to know what that is? Join us next year for camp! Upon our return from Music Camp, I left with the youth for UniDiversity Youth Camp in Tennessee. We spent the week together talking about how everyone is welcome at the communion table, and wrestling with and discussing ways we can welcome those we come in contact with. The journey home took a little longer than expected due to some transportation issues, but that is not what I remember from that part of the journey. What I remember is the fact that the youth with us on the trip never once complained about the situation. In fact, they found ways to continue to grow together as a group. That’s Church, my friends.

In addition to these events, I also had the opportunity to participate and lead in some of the more “normal routine” things at Tabernacle. I helped recruit for worship, and attend staff meetings; I spent at least an hour each week with the wonderful Brown Bag Bible Study group learning more from them than they did from me; I made Coke explode with Mentos in Vacation Bible School; and I got to be a part of something much bigger than myself, and bigger than this building and the people in it. This “big thing” was Church as it is supposed to look like. This summer was everything I expected, and nothing I expected all at the same time. I learned things this summer that I hope to take with me wherever I go from here. Be proud of who you are and what you are, my friends. Because this church is a unique one that does it’s best to be Church in many ways. I am so grateful and honored to have been a small part of it’s story.

Grace and peace,

Kristen Koger

Summer Pastoral Intern, 2014

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