A Word from Our Pastor: August 2016

A Word from Our Pastor


“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God”

Peace Camp this year was a great success! We had 10 campers (ages 4-11) and 5 teenage counselors. Monday-Thursday from 9-3 they were involved in yoga, music, movement, art, listening and discussing stories about peace, cooking, games, skits and lots of fun. The counselors had several training sessions during the summer, and were excellent at helping the younger children participate in this wide variety of activities. Of course, some of the children were more excited about some things than others, and it was the counselors’ role to help everyone participate with a good attitude and spirit of cooperation. The counselors were all assigned specific roles, such as set up for activities or keeping each activity on schedule.

The theme for this year’s Peace Camp was: “Love, joy, kindness and self-control” as the way to peace. Each day focused on one of the words, and the teachers (of art, or music, storytelling or games) used that day’s word in the lesson. For example, on the first day, the art teacher had the campers go outside and draw a picture of something they love. Quite a number of our campers have artistic talent!

At the end of each day, one of the camp Directors (Lynnie Hiratzka and Chai Motupalli) led a discussion with the young people about what they had learned that day, and we gathered in a circle for prayer.

Adult volunteers Peggy and Lindsay Hiratzka, Jean Hart and Judy Fukumae were on hand to step in when needed, and help with the preparation of snacks and lunch for the counselors. It takes a lot of people for camp to run smoothly!

Peace Camp was not envisioned to be “Vacation Bible School” by a different name. We are very much aware of how people in our neighborhoods, our nation, and the world struggle with divisions of race, class, gender identification, sexual preference, ability, and religion. We also know how much strife and violence around is the result of our inability to overcome these divisions; or that violence seems an appropriate response to these divisions, especially to those who are mentally ill. The desire to overcome these divisions is at the heart of Peace Camp: to help young people develop into adults of compassion and understanding, willing and able to interact positively with any human being, no matter how “different” they may seem. From my point of view, Peace Camp is one of the most important, potentially life-changing and world-changing ministries we offer.

It is often difficult to know what the impact of a camp like this is. Every day, the campers and counselors had a very high standard of behavior and caring for one another. That is a great accomplishment. Our prayers for them include that they will be able to keep the lessons that they learned at camp in mind when camp is over: that is the test for all of us. . . To “walk the talk” – that is, to behave in the way we say we believe. It’s not easy, as we all know, to walk the talk. But when we have a community of support, others who are trying to live by the same values, it can be a little easier.

It is also a challenge to all of us at BMU, adults of any age, and young people: to be peacemakers, every day and everywhere. How can you make peace visible with your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, the stranger on the street? If this is something we ask of our children, it must be something we do ourselves.

Carry a dollar in your pocket, or an extra sandwich, and hand it to someone on the street. . .make a point of saying a special thank you to someone close to you for something they do every day that makes your life easier – give them a card, a candy bar, a can of their favorite soda to show that you are thinking about them. . .if someone around you looks tired or stressed, offer to help them with a task. . .there are so many things we can do. But we have to have the intention and the commitment. It is part of being human; compassion is Jesus’ teaching for us, it is a gift we have received from others many times. . .

Let us resolve to be peace makers, today!

–Rev. Naomi

Our campers were:
Aliya, Tetsu, Aidan, Jack, Kenzo, Tousei, Malcolm, Jordon, Brandon, Gabriel. Props to Aliya for being the only girl!
Youth Counselors:
Derrick, Jared, Luke, Garrett, Miggy, Leah (one day)
Thanks also to BMU storytellers: Jean Hart, Mike Williams, Mike Yamauchi
BMU resource people: Pauline Nishi and Kathy Uyeno