From the Director's Desk...
Each week our Interim Director Evita Krislock will be writing about a topic that's been on her mind or a reflection of some of our focuses here at Waycross. The newest letter will always be at the top and the oldest at the bottom of the page.
Can you speak another language?
As we move into this season of Pentecost, listening to the stories, I wonder, “Is revelation what happens when you can actually understand what is being said?”
As the apostles were given the gift of tongues, perhaps it was their hearts and ears being opened, in turn enabling them to actually speak the language of the people. The same words yet a different language because they now knew the people had different points of reference. The gift of tongues may have been the realization that their words spoken in a different context would bring about a new understanding. Our language is based on generations, regions, cultures, context, all different even though it is the same core, different because we are different. Language comes from and evolves through our own personal history, flavored by our experiences. The study of linguistics talks about the evolution of language, of how words shift and change. Those ‘ah ha’ moments, when a shift occurs, revelation and when we realize, we have a new awareness as to what is being said,
My time at Waycross has brought about new growth and language. It has profoundly changed me.
How often are we challenged with new ideas, ideas that make us uncomfortable or perhaps challenge what we hold dear? Pentecost – tongues of fire, the gift of the Holy Spirit, hearts and minds come to a new place of understanding, new experiences which shape our ability to hear, to understand and share the good news.
Evita May 16, 2018
Things I learned from Mom…
We come into this world thanks to our mothers and fathers. This week we specifically honor our mothers, all of them. It is important to acknowledge and recognize the generations who brought us this far, the generations of women who are born nurturers, others who have sacrificed everything just to bring a new life forth, those that do not understand unconditional love, those that do and everything in between. My own family is perfectly normal in its dysfunction. I, in turn, strive to offer up something different for my own family, all from the things I learned from Mom.
With an older sister and a younger brother, we were the three musketeers, full of adventure and misadventure. Our mother was single, worked full time, took us to church, volunteered in scouts and school, barely made ends meet, built a foundation stretching beyond our immediate family, encouraged understanding and compassion for others. Mom did the best she was able to with the gifts she was given. Her mother, a support and perceived critic of Mom’s life choices, was always in the picture, helping, teaching and standing with her daughter. She offered us another window into mother’s love. Children, mothers, mothers, children are complex and delightfully human, with relationships as complex as life itself, beyond definition. What do we assign to our mothers? Is it unconditional love? Or do we find unmet expectations, blame them for what they did or did not do, regardless if we ever shared said expectations. Communication is key, let’s share the stories.
The relationships are eased by the village that steps in and steps up to offer parts that are needed, to share another version of the story, to fill in the gaps, offering new insights. Think of the mothers sending their children off to foreign lands in the hope that they might find not only a better life, but life itself. Think of Jochebed, Moses’ mother, placing her son into a basket with love, faith and hope,that he may be spared from death. How do we become that village that steps in and steps out in love with the belief that together we make a difference, as we find the basket containing that wee baby?
Each summer we open our arms and offer to serve as the village that shares with children, a community of brothers and sisters, surrounded and lifted up in unconditional love. Like a mother’s love, we are here with our arms open wide, not always perfect, yet always stepping out with love, faith and hope, things I learned from Mom.
May 9, 2018
When sharing my adventures with friends in the Pacific Northwest, my wonder and delight in the understory of Brown County is interjected into the conversation. The understory is that part of Creation, in these woods, which lies under the canopy of the Yellowwood Forest. It is different than the Pacific Northwest, the Inland Empire’s conifer forests, it is open, inviting and in my sensibilities, comforting.
My entire life involves making connections, how is this connected to that, is there something to tie us together? Reflecting on worship, my wonder is; why, how and what is the rest of the story? Are we teaching about what we do? Raising a family, part of our process is teaching why we do what we do and how this brings us to a new place, the rest of the story that explains the good, the bad, perhaps the ugly, and the hope for the future.
Walking to work this morning, the understory delighted me, making connections, reflecting on my work and ministries. My daughter, on her way to the airport yesterday asked me to send a picture after the trees fully leaf out, believing it will be amazing. What she witnessed here was the understory, seeing its beauty and knowing there is more to come. Clearing a place, delving into the hidden, removing some of the trappings, the debris, allows us to shine a light into the forest, bringing new growth with the promise of splendor.
Attending a memorial service Sunday, I encountered a strong network of witnesses, people who provide a canopy for the work at Waycross. What does our understory look like? Are we an old growth forest, decaying slowly, shutting out the new or a vibrant healthy environment inviting diversity and dreams? What I see is a strong canopy, sheltering the understory. There are times and seasons in life when changes occur, need to happen, and it is in these times we count our blessings, honor and teach our story. Let us be prepared to tell our story, listen to the new growth and light spreading through Creation.
Let us find the Waycross Way in all that we see, experience and dream, looking into the understory.
--Evita Krislock May 2, 2018
Thanks for all you gave…
Arriving at Waycross in early June, 2015, my senses were introduced to the beauty and energy of staff, fireflies, wild flowers, committed board members, and community. There was a sense of hope and possibility, some hesitation and worry. In the midst of all of this, women started gathering for a program week, ‘Broken Crayons Still Color’. It was at this time I was introduced to several Waycross board members, committed women who strove to lift up and build up the ministries of Waycross. One of these dedicated women, Ellen Blackburn recently relocated to another state amidst tears and loving memories of their daughters growing up as living witness to the Waycross Way.
Already plans are in the works to return to Waycross in the months ahead. Before they left, Ellen and her husband Mike, gifted us with a challenge, a challenge to band together, to lift up and support the ministries of Waycross, specifically to fix the kitchen floor. So many love and are committed to Waycross, to the difference it makes in the lives of families and our church communities. Part of our outreach ministries is through our Waycross cookies, how we share the Waycross Way. It is with full hearts we give thanks to what Ellen and Mike have started.
We give thanks for all you gave, to your gift of a future. Remember to keep coming back!
Evita Krislock April 24, 2018
Forgive them for they know not what they’ve done…
Yes and then make corrections to not repeat the same mistakes. There are daily assaults on my sensibilities. How do I move forward in daily routines, when patterns repeat over and over again? By forgiving them, while taking action. Taking action, for me is living into that which I profess to love, lifting up, educating, advocating while modeling, with a willingness to have fierce conversation.
With the best of intention, generations were taught, do not talk about politics or religion, sex or today – food, oh let’s add on health insurance and … any conversation where there may be discord. How will we learn to grow and become unless we are willing to listen, while striving to understand another point of view? When we avoid the uncomfortable, the unmentionable or that which is not perfect, we actually do harm. There are consequences of avoiding the uncomfortable. Just as plants grow stronger in the wind, with resistance strengthening their cellular structure, respectful discord builds our cellular and spiritual strength.
With healthy discussions we discover the ‘new’. New ways of understanding brings healing which for me, is part of God’s Peace. Consider teaching empowerment and voice, respect, empathy and a little humility. Singularly we do not have all the answers but together, with fierce conversation, and open hearts we may discover the truth. While we may forgive them for they knew not what they were doing, how do we change old patterns? Let’s talk.
Here at Waycross we are having the fierce conversations while delving into our story, deeper into an understanding of who we are, our purpose, and how we move into a model of ministry that is regenerative. A ministry that recognizes how everything is connected, that we are part of a bigger whole. No one claimed it to be easy or simple yet we have started.
When asked why? Because we believe this is the right thing to do. Forgive us for mistakes made, celebrate with us when new growth and understanding transform the tired and weary. Together we will talk and share, learn and grow in God’s Peace…
Evita April 17, 2018
Who is invited to the party, the table so to speak? In many Episcopal Churches the invitation is “All who come in faith are welcome at the Lord’s Table.” This has evolved through the years, as we come to an understanding of the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus. Who would throw a birthday party; invite people to join in, until it comes to being fed, then only feed a few? Consider that for a moment. Is this something you do? Do you invite people to join you until it comes to the most sacred and then only the ‘chosen ones’ can join in? This is a question of inclusion versus exclusion. As a person with food sensitivities, my awareness of welcome is heightened in different ways. Is there something at the table that will feed me, that will aide me on my physical and spiritual journey? Or, non-intentionally, am I excluded from the table as being one who is too sensitive or one of those? Do I belong to this community? Unless a light is shown on how different actions and invitations may be exclusive, why would we ever effect a change in how we do things? In our lives and ministries the temptation to hold on to how things have always been done, can lead us down a dark lonely path. That is not to say traditions are bad, just to be diligent as to why these were put in place and continually review if it is having the intended effect or different consequences. Last weekend Waycross hosted a Trailblazers event. Volunteers of all ages joined us to clear trails, to rake, shovel, prune and generally clean up areas around the camp and conference center, trails interspersed throughout Hickory Hill.
Who was invited? Everyone, young, and the seasoned, Waycross alumni and newbies
How were they welcomed? With love and intention
How were they fed? With community, good food, song, worship, and s’mores
Giving thanks for staff and volunteers who understand, live into and remind us of the Waycross Way.
--Evita Krislock April 11, 2018
What does Easter mean to you? How do we tell this love story? Why is how we share it important? How it is told teaches us different things. Article XXIV in the Book of Common Prayer, charges us to speak in the language of the people. The language of the people is not just the spoken word, it is how we act, how we model and how we teach. There are many different ways we learn and in turn share our knowledge becoming the teachers. How and what are the unintended things we teach?
St. David’s, Bean Blossom is a gift to me in my interim work at Waycross, poignantly reminding me of the value of community, the importance of presence, learning and teaching. The value of telling the story again and again, in different ways, not assuming to know the whole story, changes what we receive. Everyone has a role in this amazing story, the story of faith journeys, of sacrifice and of unconditional love, all shared in a safe environment.
Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday are beautiful entries into the sacred space of Holy Week. The gifts of music, presence and love, while being taught with gentleness and understanding are priceless. Easter continues the story, my highlight, the gathering in the Narthex, the striking of a flint, sparks igniting a fire, in turn lighting the Pascal candle. Standing in the sanctuary, we shared the light with others. This highlight mirrored my favorite memory of Waycross, the closing ceremony at summer camp. Both use candles to illustrate how we become a light into the world. We spread the light, we carry it with us, a shared love and light, from present time past yet offered to us now, into our tomorrows.
This promise that we are not alone, the promise that we become a light into the world, how are we able to reignite this spark of compassion, hope, forgiveness and love where ever we go? Let us not extinguish that light, instead may it be present as new life in and through us. Waycross speaks another language, teaches in the language of a peoples who have an important love story to share, may it bring new life and understanding.
Evita April 4, 2018
As the Waycross board met last night, having heartfelt discussions about logistics, budgets, communication and the search committee’s progress, it was brought to our attention the need to share with you the status of the Bishop Cate Waynick Center for Youth. We are excited to be the designated site to honor Bishop Waynick. As the plans develop and evolve we want to ensure this honor is carried out intentionally and with respect. With this in mind we are meeting with Bishop Waynick after Easter to ensure that what we do aligns with the Bishop’s vision and needs for youth. We will keep you posted on our progress throughout this this process.
--Evita Krislock March 25, 2018
Telling our story…
As we head into Holy Week, we are reminded once again of the importance of telling the story, our story. As teachers, believers, and followers of the Living Christ, each of us has a responsibility to share our story, the why, the wherefores, the nuts and bolts of why we are here, why we do, including various layers of what we do. There are many stories here at Waycross to be shared.
Our story, rich with history, with people who believed in and without hesitation, did everything to the best of their abilities to build Waycross and outdoor ministries. They brought people throughout the Diocese of Indianapolis, local communities, the country to a place deeply rooted in Creation. Waycross is their legacy, it is ours. Waycross is yours, it is a collective ours, past, present and future. Ownership means responsibility; we are all responsible for telling the story.
In this Lenten season of Blessings, we remember and honor those who gave so much, the Baughmans, Lennis and Judith, who served as directors at Waycross and made it their home. We said goodbye to Judy this season, in addition to another longtime supporter, Aline Booth. Both of these strong women lived into and modeled the Waycross Way. Both were a blessing to us. We honor them by telling their stories, of all those who make a difference in our lives, who ensure this continues to be a spiritual place of renewal.
As we delve deeper into our story, some pages worn, others are barely touched because that chapter has not been shared or lived. Do you know that each season, Waycross scholarships campers to attend summer camp? Of course you do, but do you know that approximately fifteen campers from East 10th St United Methodist Children and Youth Center, an inner city ministry, receive a full scholarship from Waycross? These youth are gifted to attend this thin place, a safe place where they can grow in faith and appreciation of Creation, a place to feel what it means to be Beloved children of God. St. Christopher’s scholarships four youth from Mary Rigg Center, full ride, no strings attached.
Many of you help fund campers to attend Waycross summer camp programs. Do you consider funding anyone wishing to attend a program at Waycross. There is much need and people of all ages are hungry. Come let us feed and fill them with radical hospitality while we share our story, of which you are a major character.
God’s Peace… Evita M. Krislock March 24, 2018
Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord…
Thinking about this familiar camp song, sung around campfires, during youth retreats, and intentional gatherings of community at Waycross and across the globe, brings comfort and peace. This sweet melody, harmonizing while carried across generations, through the thin places and into the celestial heavens, bringing God’s Peace…
Humbling oneself, remembering powerful Maundy Thursday services, the foot washing, healing services intended to ease some of our burden. Salty tears streaming down the fresh faces of our youth, and the creased, worn faces of the person sitting next to me, the faces of all who enter into a humble place, where ever that may be. Humbling oneself is not easy. It is not easy to admit we do not have all the answers or even know let alone understand the questions. Coming into Spiritual Places affords us the opportunity to pause, pause and be open to listening, to receiving, opening our hearts and souls to God’s Presence and gifts to us, through us.
These gifts take various forms; places, experiences, friends, enemies, church, Waycross, Creation … Humbling ourselves to receive, in turn to gift others with the ability to serve and give. As mentioned, this is not easy in any generation, let alone in times of isolation, busyness, ill health, anxiety or expectations of performance. Our Lenten season has been to name the blessings in our lives, culminating in this Holy Week. Pausing, listening to the stories, sharing and teaching the stories, humbling ourselves in the sight of the Lord.
Evita March 14, 2018
Last week reference was made to the ‘Waycross Way’. The Waycross Way, what does it mean? What does this mean to me? What does it mean to you?
The summer of 2015 was one of multiple changes, displacement, fear, discovery and growth for me. All of this occurred in Brown County Indiana as I served as the interim director, here at Waycross. Literally getting lost on the delightfully named, yet unfamiliar roads, thick canopies arched overhead, no known landmarks, the heavens opening up to flash floods, thunder rolling across the skies. FEAR! The fear of the unfamiliar, fear of tornados, new ways to consider doing things, different belief systems; yet there was something that brought comfort and peace to my heart, the ‘Waycross Way’.
The Waycross Way is how the staff cared for me and let me know I was safe, that everything was going to be okay. It was the delight and joy as I witnessed the volunteers who came to help, the children giggling as they joined their mothers during Women’s Week with Day camp, the feeding of women spiritually and physically, what still brings tears to my eyes was witnessing a youth camp closing ceremony. The Waycross Way … the sharing, tenderness, the gift of being seen as a light which continues to make Waycross a thin place, a light in their homes, their church, community, the Diocese and in fact a light in the world, never alone because they have become a part of the ‘Waycross Way’.
How have you experienced the Waycross Way? Perhaps more importantly how do you share it? We invite you to consider the purchase of a brick(s) to add to our Main House patio to honor a friend, staff member, family, church or community. Check in with Tammie@waycrossccc.org for details.
Evita Krislock March 7, 2018
We are in a season of Blessings.
The season of Lent calls us to review and examine all parts of our lives in an attempt to live fully into the word and our ministries. This can at times be painful and not without sacrifice, discernment, while lifting up all that is important, authentic and lives into our mission. This builds a strong foundation. The foundation often goes unnoticed, at times is unrecognizable, certainly not flashy, yet it is the basis from which we reach new heights and awareness, new ministries and explore possibilities.
Waycross is in a season of change, this involves cleaning, sorting, honoring, dreaming, all while doing our regular tasks. In preparation for my arrival, Baughman House was painted, refreshed, and carpet removed. The director’s office has fresh paint, records reviewed, organized, and are being digitalized. Meredith and Emma, our interns have most of the old photos scanned, milestones marked and filed for safe keeping. Through all this the staff and myself, continue to honor the gift of Waycross, what I often refer to as the Waycross Way, more than a walkway, it is how we live into the sacred ministries offered here and through all those who live into this model. A blessing indeed.
Saturday, the Waycross board met at Baughman House and welcomed my return to Waycross (2015). Fr. Chris Beasley graciously performed a house blessing, bringing a sense of peace and hope to this sacred place. There are important decisions to be made during this transition, all are good, healthy and important to do on a regular basis. Again this is our season to become the best we can be and quite honestly we cannot do or achieve this without your prayers and support.
Our second Love for Waycross built on the success from last year, in large part due to the commitment of the Waycross board, the generous support of St. Paul’s, Indianapolis and the dedication of the staff. Please recognize this event is meant to compliment your annual giving, not replace it. Waycross, with its sixty-one year history continues to need your financial support in addition to your presence, prayers and promotion.
Transparency, openness and radical hospitality are three of our goals, if during this time we can answer any questions’ please do not hesitate asking any of the staff. Working together we can achieve so much more, building strong core values on a solid foundation. I would love to meet with you at some point, listening to your stories, and encouraging your dreams. These are our blessings, you are our blessing.
God’s Peace and thanksgiving…
Evita M Krislock
Interim Executive Director February 22, 2018
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