On Monday, June 26, my daughters and I spent part of our day at Briarwood Day camp. This would be nothing interesting really, except to do so, we had to cross state lines. We were day camping at NT-NL’s only congregation in New Mexico: Trinity Lutheran, Clovis.
We stopped by Trinity for a couple reasons. One is that Trinity’s pastor of the last 13 years, the Rev. Bonita Knox, has accepted a new call (to Wyoming of all places) and two, because Briarwood Day Camp is ALWAYS FUN!!!
When we arrived, camp was already well underway. About 40 children, the vast majority from the neighborhood around Trinity, were singing the Moose song and playing games. Although my kiddos knew none of the campers, the Briarwood staff immediately included them in the games, bible study, crafts, and fun.
Trinity serves a community in Clovis whose main reason for existence is the large Air Force base west of town. As a result, there is a great deal of diversity in the community, as well as transience, as service members come and go to assignments. Clovis also has a high level of poverty (22.2% of the city vs. 14.7% of nation), as many of the jobs in the community are service sector, and there is not a significant industry.
Trinity has engaged those realities by welcoming everyone to this day camp, inviting them also to be part of the congregation, as well as serving the hungry by growing fresh tomatoes in their garden. These tomato plants have to be shaded from the sun much of the year, both due to heat as well as Clovis’ altitude (over 4,200 ft). Adapting to the realities of their context and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ by welcoming all to the table.
This experience reaffirmed again for us the vital nature of understanding our mission together. Certainly, we will miss Pastor Knox and her ministry leadership there. Yet, we trust the Spirit will lead the next leader for this community. Whether we are in New Mexico, Louisiana, or Texas (or Oklahoma – can’t forget Durant), we are In Mission Together!!!