During this long season of pandemic, many things have been lost. At Mount Hermon, being closed to the public has meant no programmed events for all children, youth and adults. The reality of church and para-church organizations we have partnered with for years and those booking conferences for the first time came to a screeching halt. The logical end was so did our cash flow.
Lost was group interaction that included connecting with friends and loved ones, worshiping, learning and eating together. Families planning on a week of Family Camp as their vacation were as greatly disappointed as we were (we thrive on it!). Also lost were many employees who were laid off. They were a rich part of the fabric and culture of Mount Hermon.
As our leadership began reaching out to Mount Hermon Associates and donors to help see this incredible ministry through, something special happened.
Many churches and parachurch ministries prayed for Mount Hermon. We began to contact them with the invitation to understand Mount Hermon’s financial need. The word partners and partnership kept coming up from our church ministry friends. Pastors and church leaders we spoke with said “our congregation has been asking, how is Mount Hermon doing during this season?”
Many of the church leaders pointed to their own personal time as a camper or camp counselor having impacted their lives in a deep way. Many said, “We are in this together and we as a church are in a position to help and want to help.” They expressed the need to their congregations and we witnessed an outpouring of gifts from people who had never given before. Others expressed their own financial needs as giving had dropped and we prayed for one another. The surprise was when some of those sent us a year end gift after all!
The real blessing wasn’t the huge amount of gifts to Mount Hermon by so many churches and other faith based organizations, but the deepening of partnerships, many of which have gone on for decades. There was recognition that the ministry of Christian camping is a vital part of the Lord’s kingdom work – just as vital as the long-term partnership of churches is to the health of Christian camping.