Christian Education

“Like a playground without children” during the pandemic, leaders of the Antiochian village camp are eager to welcome guests again Features


LIGONIER – Antiochian Village Camp is the meeting place between faith and pleasure.

Camp Director Father Chris Shadid and his wife, Sophia, have announced the fall registration for the adult camp, which will be held September 17-20. Participants will grow in the Orthodox faith while enjoying the weekend with intergenerational campers, he said.

“We have adults as young as 21 and as old as 78,” Shadid said.

Non-Orthodox interested in Orthodoxy are welcome. The Shadids hope to meet campers who want to experience “The Ancient Faith”. If non-Orthodox cannot attend, Shadid encourages individuals to visit “one of the four Orthodox churches in Johnstown”.

The Orthodox Christian faith is the central aspect of the Antiochan adult camp. There will be daily services, workshops and Christian education, as well as “fun things and tasty things,” Sophia said.

“Like Aunt Janet’s banana bread,” Shadid added.

Some spoilers

To encourage light conversation, expect icebreaker questions.

In an ice-free glass, campers will savor Jesus’ first miracle: wine.

“There is a wine and cheese party,” Sophia said.

At this gathering, there will be one-on-one crafts (find out yourself) with your campmates.

Their athletic ability should be part of the discussion. Angleball is a camp favorite. The sport was popular during WWII. The military played the game to stay in shape before deployment.

“I love sports,” Shadid said. “It doesn’t require any special skills – just run, throw and catch a ball.”

Away from the corner ball court, the camp represents an autumn postcard, with wildlife emerging in the image.

“There are animals to see here,” says Sophia. “Deer, marmots and turkeys.”

Outside, a chill can be felt, so pack a sweater or jacket. However, spending time in the natural elements doesn’t mean sleeping in tents. The heated cabins are nice and comfortable if it’s cold.

Regarding the sleeping arrangements, the campers are separated into cabins by gender, which means separating the couples. A few accommodation units are available if a couple is to be together. Coming in or out of the cabin, campers can feel their eyes on them.

“She’s a beautiful, beautiful calm and a fiery little Louie,” Shadid said. “Our dogs want you to stroke and love them.”

Like the village of Antioch, the four-legged duo are ready for a crowd.

Joy was missed

Last year, “the village of Antioch was like a playground without children,” Shadid said.

“In a playground and in this camp, you see joy,” he said. “When there is no one to serve, the joy is missed.”

Despite the pandemic, the camp has remained connected to family in its village through virtual programming, calling young campers on their birthday and launching a monthly newsletter, “The Gathering Place”.

Even without foot traffic, camp staff continued to maintain the property.

The village of Antioch covers over 400 acres. This year, the Saint-Ignace chapel needed a new coating. The camp managed to raise $ 30,000 for the renovation.

According to Shadid, the camp needs a used van – preferably donated – to serve as a work vehicle around the camp property.

“It has to be durable,” he said, “capable of passing inspection, has four-wheel drive and can carry loads.”

Speaker, storyteller

In September, Shadid’s favorite speaker will visit. The session priest for the adult camp is Father Nick Belcher, a former audiovisual advisor. He is now the Episcopal Assistant of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.

Shadid said Belcher knew how to provide Orthodox (for the soul) food.

“A famous saint of the Orthodox Church is St. John Chrysostom,” Shadid said. “Chrysostom means” golden mouth “. Man’s words are gold.

New staff member James Matthews shared Belcher’s personal impact on him: “His words encouraged me to continue living the faith.”

Deputy camp director Cade Scott shared an interesting fact about Belcher: “Before the priesthood he was a high school teacher in Altoona.

With a former teacher present, the camp is adhering to all CDC guidelines, Shadid said.

“Please check the camp’s website for more information,” he said.

Regarding cell phones: “You won’t need Facebook,” Sophia said, “because you won’t be bored.”


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