You Don't have to be Episcopalian or Christian
- Shrine Mont Camps is a program of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, but campers and staff do not need to adhere to the doctrine or belief system of the Episcopal Church. Rather, while we are at camp we try to create a space where all people can explore, question and push the boundaries of their faith in a way that is safe, open and accepting.
Who Are Our Chaplains?
- Each camp staff will include a ‘chaplain’ who is either an ordained priest or a lay leader. He or she will lead ‘chaplain’s time’ each day, will help camper and/or cabin groups envision, create and direct worship most evenings and will serve as a resource if campers (or counselors!) find that they have questions or would like to speak further about their faith journey.
What is Chaplain's Time?
- ‘Chaplain’s time’ is a block during each day of camp during which the chaplain will lead campers and staff in a developmentally-appropriate and activity-based exploration of some faith-related concept. This discussion may be centered on a biblical story, a religious holiday or a universal concept related to Christianity (treating others as we would be treated, serving the world as models of Christ, etc.), but all chaplain’s times will be engaging and will not require that campers have a knowledge of Christian tenets or subscribe to a certain doctrine.
Daily Worship and All-Camp Worship
- As noted above, campers plan and lead worship Monday through Saturday with guidance from the camp chaplain. Generally these worship services are upbeat, short, full of beloved camp songs and FUN; often times, campers will lead a discussion with the whole camp and ask for participation or will create a skit to dramatize a certain reading or theme.
- On Sunday evenings after dinner, all of the camps who are in session will come together in the Shrine for All-Camp Worship, which is a Eucharist service led by an ordained priest on the mountain. We frame this All-Camp Worship to look a lot like the regular Sunday service that campers may experience at home but with more camp music. Your camper will be invited to receive the Eucharist or to come up and receive a blessing, so if this is something that is important or new for your family we encourage you to speak with your camper about this before y’all arrive at camp. All are welcome at our table.
Talking about Faith
- Your child will be invited and encouraged to explore his or her faith while at camp, but it’s okay for your camper to share a lot, a little or however much he or she is comfortable sharing. We are prepared for a wide variety of beliefs and comfort levels regarding faith conversation- our ultimate aim is to create and foster an inclusive and accepting environment for every single camper. Shrine Mont Camps is a place where children and youth are empowered to take ownership of their own faith and explore with their peers and other leaders.