“Let’s continue this monthly!” was the rousing and unanimous vote heard from all the Agape kids and leaders at the end of a week of zoom calls, dubbed “Camp in a Box”. The calls, which took place at 10am every morning from July 6th-9th, were designed to compliment a packed box that each student received the week before.
Grounded in unconditional love, Agape Ministry’s mission is providing experiences which model healthy relationships to children whose families have been affected by incarceration. That mission is carried out through two main events for Agape children ages 7-17, a Christmas Party and a week at Camp Wright. Without the possibility of a week at camp this summer, the Agape Committee knew that some creative thinking was required to keep our Agape family together.
The Agape Committee spent May planning and ordering items to match the theme, “SEEN (you are seen by God), SEEING (where you can see God), SEE (helping others see God)”. Then in June they joined with Camp Wright staff for a box packing event. The boxes included, among other things, sealed envelopes with activities for each Zoom day and theme, camp snacks (including smores), a carefully selected book from the Agape “book nook”, and specially crafted items of prayer and love from members of our Diocese.
“During this time of time of pandemic, the world seems so upside-down. So many things to deal with, so many stresses on our lives. What a welcome respite to enter the “Zoomisphere” and see the smiling faces of the Agape children. Our time together brought laughs and learnings, and although we did not share a physical space, we shared something special — time. The pandemic has hidden within it some blessings and camp-in-the-box is one of them!” – The Very Rev. Michael Moyer
The success of the virtual camp week led to monthly zooms through the Fall, culminating in a virtual Christmas Party that included a fun Christmas tree craft, a “pop-up pageant”, and a delicious make-your-own treat. The party was complimented by its own mailed-home box, stuffed to bursting thanks to generous donations from around the Diocese. What an amazing treat it was to see the children’s faces light up when they opened their boxes!
While the Agape Ministry was able to stay connected in 2020, we are excited to be able to return to in-person events for 2021, with some adjustments for health and safety protocols. This summer the Agape children will be invited to join regular Camp Wright sessions, with full scholarships, and will receive an extra welcome box on their bunk upon arrival – reminding them of their Agape community. We hope to host an end-of-summer reunion so children can share about their camp experiences and are looking forward to hosting the in-person family Christmas party once again in December.
As always, we would like to thank our Diocesan partners and churches for their generous support our ministry. We encourage you to check out the Agape webpage for more information on how you can join the team, make a donation, or enroll a student in our ministry.