Rev. Karen Radcliffe was standing on the deck of the Lakeside Chapel at Asbury Hills tossing pebbles into the lake. After a few moments, she turned to her group of youth she brought from St. John’s UMC and said, “Just keep watching the ripples in the water.” She continued tossing pebbles in for a few more moments before turning and continuing our tour of Asbury Hills with the group. Later, the group stopped for lunch at the Mountain Chapel, and Karen shared her story.
“I served as the Waterfront Director [at Asbury Hills] in the 70’s. I was in charge of organizing the pool and lake activities – swimming, canoeing, games. I also assisted in setting up for the weekly evening worship at the lake chapel. Back then, we lit luminaries around the trail leading to the chapel. And by the time worship was over, it was so dark, the only thing you could see was the flickering light from the candles glowing around the lake. It was on one of those nights, after worship had concluded and campers were following the candlelight back around the lake, that I very clearly heard God calling me into ministry.”
She continued on, and asked her group to remember the pebbles she tossed in the lake earlier that day.
“I believe that’s how God works at Asbury Hills. He is able to toss pebbles into our lives by calling us to transform into someone greater. And maybe that is volunteering as a Sunday school teacher or serving as a nurse or maybe God will one day call you into ministry. It is amazing to me to see how the pebbles God tosses at camp can cause ripples that spread much farther than we could ever imagine.”