Camp Shalom looks forward to summer 2019

News | January 24, 2019

With excitement for a couple of new programs, and gratefulness for a camp filled with kids last summer, the staff of Camp Shalom is looking forward to a fun and faith-filled adventure for summer 2019. Registration is now open.

Tom Bley, executive director, said that parents and campers will see two changes to camp initiatives this year.

First, sixth-graders will have their very own experience at camp. Previously, they had been in with fourth- and fifth-graders. After conversations with staff, they decided that creating a specially designed program just for kids in sixth-grade would be a good, and super fun, way to go. Campers still stay in the village cabins and participate in all their favorite activities, but they also get to have their own special adventure, including an abbreviated session on the high ropes course. Villagers – 6th Grade will give campers a taste of what they can look forward to as Outpost campers in junior high.

Also new is something called Nomads, a week-long program for campers entering grades 9-12. They will sleep in tents, which they will pitch in a variety of locations around Camp Shalom. Nomads cook their own breakfast and dinner, joining the Outpost for lunch and evening worship. Nomads still participate in some of their favorite camp activities, including high ropes, but they will also travel offsite for a lazy river day, where they will rent tubes and float down the Maquoketa River. Nomads have greater freedom and responsibility than younger campers; they will operate on their own schedule, spend time in the woods, and learn how to camp the classic way!

Again this year, camp will hold a week just for adults with disabilities, Tom said.

What is Tom also looking forward to? With successful fundraising over the past two years, two two cabins that often house the youngest campers will be renovated. He can hardly wait to see the summer staff, he added, noting that applications are welcome to be on the summer crew.

Last summer, Camp Shalom was at 95 percent capacity, he said. About 120 kids a week come to camp during the summer.

“It’s our commitment to be the very best at what we do,” he said. “All of our energy goes into that.”

The history of Camp Shalom and St. Paul runs deep.

St. Paul purchased land for a camp in 1976. Originally called the St. Paul Outdoor Ministry Center, it primarily served youth of the congregation. A master plan was formed to provide a vision of the future. Volunteers labored to turn the rough farmland into a working campsite. They constructed cabins, cleared trails, cooked meals and created a summer program.

In 1982, St. Paul Lutheran raised money to build the Program Center. This building continues to be the hub of camp life. Around this time, St. Paul held a contest to rename the camp. A young camper won the contest with the name “Shalom.” Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning “Peace.” Commonly used as a greeting, it can also mean the kind of peace only God can give.

By 1995 many of the buildings from the master plan were in place. In 1996, Camp Shalom incorporated as an independent ecumenical ministry.

Today, hundreds of youth and families from more than 100 different congregations in the region support Camp Shalom. Every child is welcome at Camp Shalom without regards to race, gender, creed or national origin.

To learn more about Camp Shalom, visit

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Malachi 3:1-4

The Coming Messenger 3 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.[a] 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Hebrews 2:14-18

14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters[a] in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Is Presented in the Temple 22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;[a] this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.[b] 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon[c] came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon[d] took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant[e] in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon[f] blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There was also a prophet, Anna[g] the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child[h] to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. The Return to Nazareth 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.