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Silver Lake Celebrates 50 Years

SHARON (08/22/2007) -- Over 400 people spent a sunny Sunday afternoon at Silver Lake Conference Center to celebrate the camp and conference center's fiftieth year as the Connecticut Conference's site for outdoor ministry. Each of "the Lake's" five decades was represented by one-time conferees, staff members, or volunteer leaders, who enjoyed a wide range of music, photographic memories, renewal of old friendships, holy communion, and a beautiful day in one of God's most beautiful places.

Co-Directors Tim and Anne Hughes welcomed the assembly warmly, and invited them to share in a day of music, worship, and games. Visitors participated in favorite field games and challenged themselves on the high ropes course, while others inspected the slide archives for familiar faces. Campus tours showed alumni what had changed (or stayed the same) since their own camp years, and leaders from the Silver Lake board and staff described the promise of the planned renovations which the Now for the Future campaign will make possible. Chef Bob Slagel and the summer kitchen staff prepared a delicious picnic lunch for the crowd, eaten before the main stage from which the music of many decades floated over it all.

At the celebration worship held in Hubbell Chapel, presenters honored each of Silver Lake's directors:

  • Deane Hodges, 1959 - 1964 (accepted by his son, David)
  • Alden and Ruth Tyrol, 1964 - 1995
  • Debra Deal, 1995 - 1996
  • Dana Fisher Sears, 1997 - 2002
  • Joyce Yarrow, 2003 (accepted by 2003 Summer Director Chris Mereschuk)
  • Tim and Anne Hughes, 2003 - present.

A series of speakers reflected on Silver Lake's place in the life of the Conference and its churches, speaking of it as a gift of God's creation, as a place of freedom and the exploration of faith, and as a center from where disciples are sent forth. Contemporary conferees honored ordained ministers whose path had been shaped by Silver Lake by presenting special stoles to them, which were marked with the words young people have used to describe what the camp experience meant to them. Original music from Don and Ledell Mulvaney, Tim Hughes and Bob Smith, and David Jarvis joined long-time favorite songs to move the worshipers into introspective and energetic moods. Conference Minister Davida Foy Crabtree and the week's chaplain, Chuck Ericson, led the community in Holy Communion.

The day closed with a group sing-a-long and a grand birthday cake. While most went home for the night, others stayed for the three-day reunion conference that closed the 2007 summer season. As night fell over Silver Lake, the next fifty years of its precious ministry have begun.

The Connecticut Conference United Church of Christ
United Church Center
125 Sherman Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06105
(866) 367-2822