Chalice Camp, 2016 – “Beloved Community”
By Melody Moberg, UUC’s Director of Religious Education
Over the week of August 1–5, 25 UU kids entering grades 1–5 participated in University Unitarian Church’s 6th annual Chalice Camp. Chalice Camp is an engaging summer day camp held at University Unitarian Church, which includes music, art, games, worship, and field trips. We hire eight teen counselors from University Unitarian Church, in order to provide leadership and job opportunities for our youth, and to create a multigenerational community for our campers that will last through the following church year. It’s great to see campers greet their former counselors in the hallway on a Sunday morning!
The theme for camp this year was “Beloved Community.” We used this idea, popularized by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as the basis for all of our programming. Beloved Community is an ideal we strive toward—a community with justice at its core, where people of all races work together to lift each other up, fighting poverty, injustice, and hatred. Beloved community expands beyond our human community to embrace animals and ecosystems.
We learned about how kids can fight climate change through Plant for the Planet. We partnered with the Nature Consortium to pull (and eat!) invasive blackberries in West Seattle. We created covenants and worshipped together. We sang UU hymns with Lori Blythe, and created a play about the collective community of migrating birds, adapted from a Middle Eastern story to the stage by UUC member Eve Hammond. We also, of course, enjoyed the fun of ice cream, popsicles, and pools!
On Sunday, August 7, our campers and counselors led a meaningful and energetic worship service, which was enriched by our brilliant, thoughtful and talented counselors, who wrote testimonials, led prayers, and shared their musical talents.
We hope that our summer camp can help in some small way to cultivate beloved community, both creating a community for our children now, and educating them to continue building beloved community as they grow into strong leaders—creating a culture of building bridges, in a time of wall-building.
One parent wrote:
You won’t be able to find a more affirming, supportive, and caring environment, where everyone cares for the earth and each other. I wish it were Chalice Camp for everyone, all year round.
King’s non-violence is not weak, but strong. In the same way, beloved community is fierce in its radical inclusivity. Beloved community challenges us to welcome what may feel strange, to say “yes” to community. Beloved community is rooted in unyielding love venerated by our Universalist ancestors.
We hope you’ll take to heart the inspiring words of David Kent we sang on August 7—
The light of the spirit is shining in you
The light of the spirit is shining in me
The light of the spirit is shining within
So blessed we must be!