March 24-25, 2017, Camp Christian
Submitted by: Glenna With

The men of the State of Georgia Region enjoyed an entertaining, inspirational and thought provoking retreat experience at the beautiful Camp Christian in Gordon, GA on March 24-25.  President Jimmy Walker, and with the help of many Men’s Commission Members, organized the retreat.  All were enthralled with the presentations the keynote speaker, Rev. Dean Phelps.  An ordained minister, Rev. Phelps has served as regional minister in Oklahoma, Indiana, and Georgia.  He has past led the congregations at Community Christian Church in Fayetteville, GA, at Cherry Log Christian Church in Cherry Log, GA, and later he served at the First Christian Church in Marietta, GA.   The ministry came late to Rev. Phelps, as he was in the information systems as a computer operator, systems programmer and technical manager.  He answered the call to God’s service when he entered the seminary at Emory University in Atlanta.

Dean has used his musical talents to enhance his ministry, and he has received acclaim as both a vocalist and guitarist. He has received national recognition with his guitar playing, winning the National Thumb Picking Guitar Contest at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas, and he was named the Thumb Pick Guitar Pick Champion at the Indiana Picking and Fiddling Championship.  On a personal note, Dean has been married to wife Debbie Adams Phelps, who is also a Disciples of Christ ordained minister and author.

After a shared meal in the dining hall, the Retreat was called to order by Men’s Commission President Jimmy Walker, he introduced Bob Grant, a member of First Christian Church of Griffin, who led the Song Fest.  Rev. Dean accompanied the musical selections on his guitar. The theme of his presentations was “The Faith We Sing”.   Many gospel hymns and family favorites were sung by those present.  The Layman of the Year, David Nance, of Central Christian Church of Columbus, provided a devotion, which touched the hearts of many.    With his guitar in hand, Dean led several sessions on the importance of music and its function in the church today.  He spoke about the history of some of our treasured hymns, the poetry of the lyrics, and the function that each hymn serves in worship.  The Friday evening ended with an ice cream social, and a special thanks to Mary Grant, of Griffin, who provided the traditional chalice red sugar cookies for the enjoyment of the men.

 Saturday was a full day, and after breakfast and another Songfest, Roger With, of Liberty Christian Church in Newnan, GA, provided the morning devotional.  He used the hymn “Here I Am, Lord” to inspire the men to be witnesses and disciples within their churches.  Rev. Phelps then spoke on the Four Spiritualties in the Stone-Campbell  Movement, which covered hymns in the following categories:  Theistic, Legalistic, Moralistic, and Personalistic.  This was adapted from D. Newell Williams, “Disciples Piety:  A Historical Review with Implications for Spiritual Formation.”  Hymns were analyzed by their function and use in the church.  A Regional Update was next on the agenda, and Tommy Freeman, Camp Christian Manager spoke of the needs of the camp.  Two workdays were announced Saturday, April 29 and Saturday, May 5.  The major concern right now is getting the cabins ready for the campers.   Bob Grant, State Moderator, spoke for Rev. Denise Bell, who was attending a Women’s Retreat in Winder.  He gave a brief financial report for our state, discussed the when the mortgage of the camp would be paid off and how the future funds would be dispersed.  He also mentioned that more cluster meetings would be scheduled since we are going to an alternating year schedule for Regional Assembly.  He also shared a video about the upcoming vote at the General Assembly in Indianapolis, July 8-12 about General Minister and President Nominee Rev. Teresa Hord Owen.

 Following lunch, the final session was held, with Rev. Dean Phelps, and his inspiration for this section was communion hymns. An offering was taken from those present, and the proceeds will go to Camp Christian.   A communion service was held, with Rev. Johan Van der Merwe, of Williamson presiding. Communion was served by Men’s Commission members Mike Bodnar and Will Perdue.   The Men’s Retreat ended with the traditional friendship circle and the singing of “Blest Be the Tie That Binds.”

Pictures from the Men’s Retreat at Camp Christian

For more photos visit the Photo Gallery: more

            President Jimmy Walker Registering Roger With

     Rev. Dean Phelps and Music Leader Bob Grant                                            Layman of the Year David Nance

Keynote Speaker, Rev. Dean Phelps, who spoke on "The Faith we Sing"  Roger With leading Saturday morning devotional

  Tommy Freeman, Camp Christian Manager spoke of camp's needs.        Rev. Johan Van der Merwe presided over Communion

Famous chalice cookie baked by Mary Grant which was served at the ice cream social Fridady Night

A big thank you to Jimmy Walker for organizing the Men’s Retreat, and to Beth too, who helped with the details.  Men, make plans to attend next year!


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