A year ago, The Dioceses of Washington and Maryland entered into a partnership to move forward in a cooperative relationship for camping and conference ministries located at the Claggett Center in Adamstown, Maryland. Bishop Sutton and I welcomed this new relationship because of we share a core belief that transformational and formational experiences are essential to the faith development of youth, young adults, and adults–and because the combination of the Claggett Center’s wide variety of resources, programming and ministries, geographic location, and restorative, bucolic setting foster such experiences. Claggett is a place of recovery and renewal, a beacon of growth, change, and hope. Crucially, the Claggett Center is a place where rising generations can be nourished, make lifelong friendships, and discover Jesus.
This month, the Claggett Center launched its Raising the Barn capital campaign to renovate their historic barn so that they may continue to provide high quality programming both now and for future generations. The reclaimed space will include a welcoming outdoor plaza, a fully equipped meeting space for simultaneous campus gatherings with ADA access, and a new dining center for up to 192 guests. The restored “nave” of the barn will provide space for 273 people to gather and worship against the backdrop of the Monocacy River valley.
I gladly accepted the invitation to co-chair the Raising the Barn capital campaign, because I knew it would be a means of getting the word into more and more of our congregations about the gift of Claggett, the potential of it, and the opportunities there, particularly for our young people. Serving as co-chair has prompted me to ponder what I would contribute and how I might assure others that I wasn’t asking them to do something that I didn’t also really believe in and support.
Those of you who have experienced Claggett don’t need me to remind you that the center is a sacred space. For those who have not yet had the opportunity, let me assure you that everything about Claggett invites rest and renewal. Just traveling to Claggett gives one a sense of the beauty of Creation. When you wander the trails, that sense of beauty, of wonder, only deepens. I love seeing the natural life come to its expression, treasure walking the labyrinth, praying the labyrinth, in the midst of fields. The sound of the river in the background is truly a transformational moment, transcendent in its power.
When you see the historic barn, you think music and dancing and people having a great time. And you think of young people, especially, who gravitate to that energy like moths to light. This energy is what I think Claggett’s renovated barn will bring forth – a unique dimension of spiritual grounding, full of joy and exuberance.
Join me, won’t you, in supporting Claggett’s investment in our shared future? By giving to the Raising the Barn capital campaign, you are sowing seeds in fertile soil.