Family Week 2015

August 3, 2015

During the months of June and July, camp season is in full swing at Camp Nathanael. It starts off with an enthusiastic crowd of 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade day campers and, as the summer marches on, is followed by happy onslaughts of elementary and middle school students as four weeks of those age groups arrive in June and July. High school campers, many of whom have been returning year after year since they themselves were day campers, also take over the grounds for a week in the month of June.


Four boys enjoy a Fourth of July picnic

However, an altogether different week of camp is scheduled each year in the middle of the summer and, over the years, that unique time has come to be known as Family Week. Relatively early in SMMM’s history the idea of a special conference time, a few days where believers could ‘get away’ at Camp Nathanael and gather for a time of fellowship and Bible teaching, was conceived. Though its name has changed over the years (once known as the General Conference, later as the Adult Bible Conference) since it first began in 1942, that special week has now been an annual event for over seventy years.

Family Week is a great time for families to have fun together as well as grow in their knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. Mornings include times of Bible teaching for adults and children of all ages, with something planned for everyone. The 2015 week, held June 28 – July 2, featured Bible teacher Dr. Charles Carver, Pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Winston Salem, NC. He was joined by Dr. Ed Scheurman, Chair of Lancaster Bible College’s (PA) Department of Church and Ministry Leadership, who shared with our guests from a missions perspective. Children ages 5-10 enjoyed times in the gymnasium learning from Brian and Carla Estell through their Stones True Story ministry while child care for babies and toddlers was provided in the nursery. Even young teens had a special daily session with Josh Feltner, SMMM staff member.


A girl competes during an afternoon of family games

Afternoons gave opportunities for families to enjoy a variety of things together such as swimming, horseback riding, exploring the creek, games of ping-pong and foosball, or trying their hands at archery. A highlight of the week for Summer 2015 was the ‘Hillbilly Olympics,’ an evening event displaying both hilarity and a good measure of skill on the part of competitors. Family groups entering the competitive fray encountered some wacky, good-natured challenges from ‘pin the tail on a possum,’ and watermelon seed spitting contests to games of cornhole. Those who did not participate as competitors themselves thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle of others making the rounds at the eleven planned stations.

As always, good food played an important role in the week and there was plenty of that on hand. Days began in Bethlehem, the dining facility, with a hearty breakfast followed each noon and evening with a bountiful salad bar and buffet tables laden with meats and vegetable sides. Outdoor picnic feasts with barbeque, hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and corn on the cob were also enjoyed. And just in case someone had a bit of room left for more culinary offerings, dessert tables provided a variety of delicious goodies each day.

The 323 in attendance included guests from as close as here in Knott County and surrounding counties to a number of individuals and families from other states. Whether they were from near or far, we were blessed to have them join us for those days of Christian fellowship during Family Week. Why don’t you consider taking part in that event next summer?