The Bishop’s Church Emergency Fund (BCEF) provides financial support for church buildings in the diocese needing repairs and renovation, usually with a special focus on emergency and unforeseen needs. Through the BCEF, you can support the critical needs identified by the Bishop.
The second BCEF call of 2019 is for swimming pool facility upgrades at Cross Roads Camp & Retreat Center. You can donate online, or mail a check payable to BCEF with Call #2 in the memo line to: BCEF, c/o Diocese of Newark, 31 Mulberry St., Newark, NJ 07102.
The closing days of Eastertide have brought sunny warm days to Northern New Jersey and nowhere are they more welcomed than at our own Cross Roads Camp and Retreat Center in the western part of our diocese. This idyllic 260-acre facility will soon be providing the time-honored summer camp experience to hundreds of eager young Episcopalians and Lutherans. One camper’s response to= a recent survey says it all: “Going to camp is the highlight of my year and I constantly look forward to it. There are no words that can completely sum up how I feel when I go to camp. Cross Roads truly makes me a better person.”
Anthony Briggs, who will soon celebrate his ninth year as Executive Director, believes personal transformation and connection to each other and the natural world are key elements in Cross Road’s mission. “Unlike the competitive everyday world, Cross Roads strives to create an environment where it’s okay to fail. We help people develop authentic, loving relationships.”
As a joint venture between the Episcopal Diocese of Newark and the NJ Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Cross Roads was founded in 1999, just as full communion between the two churches was being ratified. Since then the facility has grown enormously. Cross Roads now has a full-time staff of nine and volunteers numbering over 100. The combined facilities can sleep over 300 and the annual income is many times higher than it was just nine years ago. Campers’ fees include a built-in 33% subsidy and for those with greater need, additional assistance is available. In this way campership remains affordable for all.
But Cross Roads is not just about the summer programs. Cross Roads-sponsored retreats take place year-round, as do vestry and congregational retreats, events for clergy, and a variety of educational programs. Cross Roads staff members also lead off-site retreats in congregations throughout the diocese.
Although BCEF Calls in the past have usually benefited individual congregations, in this our second call for 2019, we have a wonderful opportunity to assist an institution that has faithfully served every congregation in our diocese. The swimming area is a focal point of the camp’s daily recreational activities, and after 20 years needed a facelift with new fencing, and a pavilion for the campers to enjoy socializing in the shade. In making a gift to assist Cross Roads, I hope you will consider the wonderful role this place plays in the lives of both children and adults and be especially generous.
+Carlye J. Hughes
The Rt. Rev. Carlye J. Hughes
Bishop of Newark