/ Jeffrey A Stivason

"When I'm at White Lake!"

My wife and I were in white Lake, NY this past week. It is a beautiful area situated in the midst of the picturesque Catskill Mountains near Bethel, NY. Some of you may know this as the home of the Woodstock festival of 1969. We were attending White Lake Covenanter Camp and I was invited to be the speaker.  For those unfamiliar with the RPCNA, White Lake is the only camp owned by two presbyteries of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, the Atlantic and St. Lawrence Presbyteries. This year was a special one. This year was the hundredth anniversary of the camp. But there is another reason why this year is special. White Lake camp had not gathered for two years.  This was something of a reunion year and everyone was happy to be together again and my wife and I were delighted to be among these folks.

It was great to get reacquainted with old friends and to meet new ones. Sometimes the most difficult aspect of the pastorate is not being able to see friends who serve pastorates in other presbyteries. It was a delight to kick back and visit with them.  But rather than wander in my comments let me be more pointed.

For my wife and I, the time we will cherish most is the time we spent with Dr. Edward Robson, the former New Testament Professor at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary.  Dr. Robson was once my professor and later he attended the church I now pastor. He is a dear friend to our family. He was a camper this year after being absent for several years and on Monday night he gave a testimony. It was powerful. He spoke of his love for the camp, his ministry over the years and his abiding love for his wife Gretchen who went to be with the Lord two years ago. Not only was it a delight to see Dr. Robson but it was a singular pleasure to hear him speak to a group he loved so much. This was a great personal blessing to my wife and me.

Second, I loved the attentiveness of God’s people during the lectures. I spoke on the topic of A Godly Heritage. There were a number of directions that I could have gone with that theme but I chose to go in the direction most needed by the Church today. We need to cling to the heritage of God’s word given to us by immediate inspiration. The active minds of the campers not only tracked with me during the talks about fully engaged in discussion afterward.

Third, during free time I had several discussions with the pastors who were present. Our conversation ranged and roved. We had fun and we discussed topics of weight.  I love that these men are readers and thinkers and as a result our conversation was rich.  Not only did I take some book recommendations home but my friend Rev. Bill Chellis sent me home with a book!  Now, that’s the kind of camp I like!

There are many other things I might say about White Lake.  I could talk about the great Job that Bob Allmond and Peter Robson have done to keep the camp running for nearly two decades.  Their retirement from that work was recognized at this camp.  Appropriately, we celebrated the occasion with cake after Peter spent all day working to fix a problem in the Bathhouse.  Or I could talk about the food.  Jonathan and his wife do a great job seeing to it that the campers are well fed.  Or I could mention the counselors.  They must be exhausted. There is a prep week followed by a kid’s camp followed by family camp and they are just as active during week three as they were the first week. And it was great to spend time at White Lake RPC with Pastor Coon and his warm and friendly congregation.  And we loved it when Rev. Bill Edgar shared memories about White Lake from years gone by.  

My wife and I were thankful for the opportunity to be among the White Lake Campers this year.  It was an experience we will cherish and not soon forget. But it was also a reminder that God continues to build a godly heritage. In other words, the truth of God’s word is passed from one generation to the next. That godly heritage is visible at White Lake Covenanter Camp.

Jeffrey A Stivason

Jeffrey A Stivason

Jeffrey A Stivason (Ph.D. Westminster Theological Seminary) is a pastor (Grace RPC, graceingibsonia.org) and NT professor at RPTS in Pittsburgh, PA. He is also editor at placefortruth.com.

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