Summer Camp - Program Update

An announcement regarding the status of our summer camping program

Many of you have been anxiously awaiting news regarding our summer camping ministry, and we have been diligently pursuing any resource that would give us firm direction concerning potential ways forward. We have talked with other camps, communicated with state and county officials, researched best practices…and we have prayed much. Through it all, there were some important principles that guided our thinking.

  • We need to maintain our testimony – by respecting our God-ordained authorities and by considering the physical well-being of our campers.
  • We need to maintain our ministry – by focusing on our capability to effectively proclaim the gospel and by protecting the long-term viability of our camping program.

When we weighed all the options and examined the probable restrictions (along with the uncertainty of any forthcoming guidelines for resident camps), we came to one disappointing conclusion. Peniel Bible Camp will be canceling all overnight youth camps this summer.

For decades, summers at Peniel have been filled with the excitement and energy of juniors and teens while they enjoyed the facilities and were encouraged in their spiritual growth. Unfortunately, the physical distancing suggestions in place are antithetical to Christian camping and completely undermine the core elements of discipleship and fellowship. To be sure, this summer will be empty for you and for us without the experience of this staple of our summer, but it is this rich history, and the decades to come, that have necessitated this painful decision. We want nothing more than to share the summer with you; we just hate that it can’t be this summer.

At this point, we do plan to carry through with plans for our family camp. It is much more reasonable to facilitate the necessary distancing protocols with families. There will obviously be some necessary adjustments, but we will be taking extra precautions to provide a safe environment while abiding by all applicable health department directives. Obviously, this proposal is only realistic if we receive word that resident camps are permitted to reopen, so we will be closely monitoring any developments and will communicate a final call by June 15 at the latest. We will also be announcing soon some other events that we will host in the summer to be able to connect with you and partner with you in the continuation of this ministry that we all love. We eagerly anticipate being able to see you so that we can strengthen each other in the hope that we share through Christ.

We thank you for the trust and commitment given to Peniel Bible Camp from campers, staff, families, and churches over the years, and we ask that you continue to pray for us during these unusual times. Please know that we are praying for you as well.

Sustained by His grace,

Tony Garren, General Director

Izaac VanderSchel, Program Director