This is the St. Patrick’s Day issue of Letters from CAMP Rehoboth, and so “top of the mornin’ to you!” That was, by the way, said with a terrible Irish accent, which according to Murray probably sounded more like Jamaican. (He lovingly complains that all my attempts at foreign accents sound Jamaican.) Oh well, “top of the mornin’ to you…mon!”
April 10-13, we will celebrate the 14th CAMP Rehoboth Women’s FEST in Rehoboth Beach. This year’s four day event promises to be one the best, and features a fantastic line-up of entertainers headlined by out country music star Chely Wright and comic Karen William, plus dozens of workshops and activities, and the chance to enjoy all the best that Rehoboth has to offer (including special discounts at many local restaurants and hotels). The best way to enjoy Women’s FEST 2014 is to purchase a FEST Pass. The FEST Pass—a bargain at only $65—includes a ticket to the Friday night Chely Wright concert, or the Karen Williams show on Saturday night, a choice of workshops on Friday and Saturday, a t-shirt, and much more. A FEST Pass is required for most workshop participation. All the information needed to participate in Women’s FEST is available on the CAMP Rehoboth website, including an online registration form, as well as FEST Passes and tickets to all FEST events and activities. A word of caution: workshops and events are already beginning to sell out, so register now! Brochures are available at CAMP Rehoboth or call 302-227-5620 for information or reservations.
In the U.S., gay rights issues continue to be debated as our increasingly outnumbered opponents try to find ways to stop the wave of marriage equality reform taking place in our courts and legislatures. We were all glad to see that Arizona’s governor vetoed the vile and discriminatory legislation enacted in that state. Sadly, on the world stage, Unganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed legislation last week creating one of the world’s harshest anti-gay laws—it allows for repeat homosexuals to be jailed for life. It also forbids the promotion of homosexuality and forces people to denounce gays. Imagine, organizations like CAMP Rehoboth could not exist under such restrictions.
Closer to home, churches continue to be places of painful discussions as changing attitudes gradually force religious institutions to rethink what it means to welcome LGBT members. Some Christian denominations have made great progress in recent years, some none at all. The Methodist church is a perfect example of a denomination struggling to find its balance. We are very fortunate that our own Epworth United Methodist Church is a Reconciling United Methodist Church—the only Reconciling United Methodist Church in Delaware. That means that Epworth (along with other Reconciling Methodist Churches around the country), has chosen to welcome LGBT members into full and active participation into the membership and life of the church. Murray and I, and many others in our community, have been a part of that change over the years. Epworth now has an extremely energized Reconciling Ministries Network team in place to carry our message of inclusion throughout the Methodist Church. Institutional change can be agonizingly slow, but it happens, one on one, neighbor to neighbor, as we share our lives honestly with one another.
I’m always interested to see the variety of groups interested in working with or connecting to CAMP Rehoboth in one way or another—especially, non LGBT groups. Recently, I’ve been asked to speak to the American Association of University Women about the work we do here at CAMP Rehoboth, and I’ve been approached by the League of Women Voters about ways for our organizations to connect. Our mission has always called us to “create a more positive” world and we do that in many ways. Collaborating with other organizations and groups in the area is always a step in the right direction.