Who knew that during a pandemic Asbury Hills would still be able to safely finish construction on its new pool and amenity building, and hold a dedication celebration?
But as Asbury Hills representatives said, the Lord is faithful, and their ministry is truly grateful.
On Aug. 22, Asbury Hills welcomed board members, campers, camper families, summer staff alumni and friends of the camp safely on property to celebrate the completion of this part of Phase One in the Asbury Hills Master Plan.
Donors from across the state joined in for a luncheon prepared and served by Food Services Director Travis Johnson and his staff. With matching Asbury Hills face coverings, Johnson and his team served delicious courses including fried green tomatoes, beef medallions, shrimp and grits and chocolate lava cake. Stories of years past and memories were shared and a true sense of community was present in the Asbury Hills Fireplace Room.
As people transitioned to the new pool site for the dedication, a sense of excitement stirred. Not only were guests about to see a project that has been in progress for such long time, but donors were finally able to see the fruits of their gifts.
Summer Camp Director Sarah Moseley started the ceremony with an acoustic version of “Come Thou Fount,” and many remarked it was the sweetest sound to hear voices singing through the mountains for the first time in months.
Board Chairperson Foster Senn welcomed and thanked guests for attending and introduced special guest Bishop L. Jonathan Holston. Foster extended a thank you to not only guests but also Holston, board members, and friends and family of South Carolina Camps & Retreat Ministries for prayers and support.
Laurie Brandes, chairperson of the Properties Committee, shared not only her connection to Asbury Hills but her family’s connections and stories, as well. She said all were able to celebrate this milestone because of those stories and connections of all who support Asbury Hills that started many years ago.
“Our guests, starting today, can sit in this pool and look at the hills from where our help comes from,” Brandes said.
Arthur Spriggs, executive director of South Carolina Camps & Retreat Ministries, continued the ceremony, recognizing David Brandes, husband to Laurie Brandes, for his exceptional engineering work in the placement and building of the pool and amenity building.
Vice Chairperson the Rev. James Friday shared a Scripture reading of John 5:1-9, and Holston led a litany of thanksgiving and dedication, followed by a blessing of the pool and amenity building.
Board member the Rev. Karen Radcliffe led the group in a benediction that is not only well known in the United Methodist Church but also the benediction that closes out each week of summer camp at Asbury Hills. Under normal circumstances this benediction is said numerous times throughout the summer.
On this day, Aug. 22, that benediction echoed through the hills for the first time in the summer of 2020. It was truly a special moment to finally hear and speak those words in a time such as this.
The event concluded with the first jump into the pool by none other than Spriggs.
Spriggs removed electronics from his pockets, took off his shoes and jumped right into the deep end. Those in attendance cheered, and the pool was deemed officially open.