We affirm God’s creation as essentially, good, but spoiled by the effects of human sin and satanic evil. We therefore respect nature and are committed to seeing it cared for and restored. We aim to be ecologically aware, to pray for God’s creation and all his creatures, and to stand against all that would seek to violate or destroy them. We look upon creation as a sacrament, reflecting the glory of God, and seek to meet God through his creation, to bless it, and to celebrate it.
I haven’t posted in a couple of days. I spent the last weekend on retreat at our Regional Church camp at Craig Springs. It is 45 minutes and a world away from the hustle and bustle of “normal” life. It is high in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Potts Mountain, and if you take a wrong turn on any of the hiking trails, you stand a good chance of finding yourself in West Virginia.
Craig Springs is one of those sacred spaces for me, and for the countless people who have come to the mountain for summer camp, conferences, and retreats since it was purchased by the Christian Church in Virginia (Disciples of Christ).
Even making the trip up the mountain is an exposure to the wonder and beauty of God’s creation. Almost from the moment you leave the Interstate at Roanoke and head up to Craig Co., you drive through tunnels of trees, past rivers and streams, along rock walls and overlooks from which you can see the entire valley laid out below you. You meet yourself coming and going on narrow switchbacks. The road climbs steeply past old farm houses and grassy fields.
The only sign of civilization is when you pass through the tiny county seat town of New Castle – last chance to pick up any groceries or other supplies. You pass a large trailer park on either side as you leave town and continue further up the mountain. Another five miles, and unless you blink and miss it, you turn off the main highway onto a single lane country road. You slow down, not only because it is narrow and winding, you cannot always see far ahead because of the turns, but because the view is too beautiful to rush past.
You look out over green fields, freshly mown, the farmers raking and rolling the hay into huge bales for winter silage. Another curve in the road and you see more fields and a stream running through them. A flock of Canadian geese are there, searching for food and resting before continuing on their journey South. The road makes a wide gentle arc around this bucolic scene before passing the main farmhouse.
More turns, more small farms, more wooded tree tunnels, a fork in the road (remember to keep to the right) and woods get denser, the streams closer to the road. “Are you sure this is the right way?” Another fork. Keep to the right, and there it is!
Slowly, reverently even, you turn up the steep drive to the camp. Through even more woods until you break through to the open field in the middle of the campgrounds. And there in full array are the ancient structures: Central, Oak Lodge, the Glass House, and in the very center, the Spring House for which the camp is named. THE Craig Spring.