Editor's note: Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration, from which the Shrine takes its name. To mark this crucial day in the life of Shrine Mont Camps, we're re-posting Bishop Goff's piece on the Transfiguration that first ran exactly a year ago (complete with new pictures).
It is an amazing joy and privilege for me to spend this week as bishop-in-residence at Shrine Mont. One of the delights that makes this week special is that today is the Feast of the Transfiguration, which we will celebrate at the Cathedral Shrine of the Transfiguration.
The parallels between our experience at Shrine Mont and Jesus' experiences at the place of transfiguration are striking. Jesus went up a mountain to a place apart. Sound familiar? He didn't go alone, but took his friends. Familiar, too, since even those who come to this mountain alone typically discover new friends quickly.
On that mountain, Jesus and his friends prayed. On this mountain, people pray. All the time. At staff meetings, in the dining hall before meals, in the songs that are sung, in cabins before bed, at daily worship, in unexpected moments.
In his mountain place apart, Jesus was changed. The light of God shone through him. In this mountain place apart, we are changed. I've seen the faces of counselors and campers shining with the light of Christ. I've seen them glowing with love for God and for others. It's not just sunburn, it's not just the "glow" from strenuous exercise. The love of God is visible here.
There was confusion on that mount of transfiguration, too. Jesus' friends didn't understand what was going on. There was hurt as they prayed about Jesus' coming death. There is confusion at times on this mountain. There are hurts and fears. We are real human beings living real lives even here, after all.
Jesus left the mountain with the strength to overcome hurts and fears and to face the coming crisis: His arrest and trial and crucifixion. We leave this mountain strengthened to face the stresses and trials of our daily lives, and to face them with faith and hope.
We are changed in this place. And we are challenged to do all we can to help ensure that all who come to this place apart will be changed for the better.
The Rt. Rev. Susan Goff is a summer camp veteran, not to mention the first female bishop elected in the Diocese of Virginia, where she serves as bishop suffragan. This is her third year working as Art Camp's chaplain.
Bishop Goff first worked at Shrine Mont as the director of Senior High Conference in the 1980s, before it became SHYC, and has been a friend and supporter of Shrine Mont Camps for all the years in between and since. While in seminary, Bishop Goff directed Eagle's Nest, the summer camp of the Diocese of Newark, for three summers.
She first joined the bishop’s staff as canon to the ordinary in January 2010. Bishop Goff was consecrated on July 28, 2012. As bishop suffragan, she oversees mission churches, in addition to multicultural and ethnic ministries. Before 2010, Bishop Goff served as rector of St. Christopher’s, Springfield for 15 years. She also served as rector of Immanuel, Old Church, in Mechanicsville; chaplain of St. Catherine’s School in Richmond; and chaplain of St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock.
Spreading the good news of Shrine Mont Camps into the Valley of the World.
The View from the Mountain is written by a rotating cast of staff writers and contributors.