["Reflections" Archives]

Looking back on
FNCA 2016

by Trevor

The first thing that comes to mind when reflecting back on the 2016 camp session was our second annual Rev. Everett K. Bray Visiting Lecturer, the prominent Swedenborgian scholar, nuclear physicist, and author of Starting Science from God: Rational Scientific Theories from Theism, Dr. Ian J. Thompson.

Dr. Thompson is a theoretical nuclear physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore CA, and has been a fellow at our seminary since 2013. His five lectures were at once deeply intensive and heady as well as strongly interactive.

© Trevor 2016His opening lecture, "Quantum Physics for Swedenborgians", set the tone, leaving some people's brains in the dirt and elevating others' minds to previously unattainable heights. "Amazing" said one camper. "Incomprehensible!" said another. Luckily, his follow-up lectures dove into more simplified explanations of the concepts along with coaxing understanding of his more difficult ideas from the group via the Socratic Method.

© Nancy F. Little 2016The second thing that comes to mind is the sheer quantity of arts and crafts. There was, of course, the usual amount of hand work during lectures: knitting, crochet, carving, quilting, felting, coloring, and the like. There were also several classes offered across a fairly wide spectrum, including friendship bracelets, nail © Leone Dyer 2016art, card tricks, ceramic tiles, string figures, and paper cranes. And many campers, from young Sparks to our most cherished Embers, were seen at various times crafting on the front porch and deck, around the fireplace in the Dining Hall, in the Dole Wing, or just sitting along the edge of the front lawn overlooking the river.

© Tobin Grams 2001

And the third thing that strikes me about FNCA 2016 is how "our little slice of heaven" offers something for just about everyone.

© Trevor 2016One camper said, "A favorite part of camp for me last summer was the time available — on the porch of the Main House or on a cabin porch — for conversation with such a variety of people. One-to-one thoughtful dialogue feeds my mind and soul, and seems to benefit others as well. Camp offers that opportunity like no other place I know."

© Beki Greenwood 2016One of our long-time children's class teachers underlined our central purpose when she wrote that her favorite part of camp last year was "hearing what the Sparks have to say in classes, and how they think about being good people." (Yes! It's working!)

And finally, here's one camper's delightful comments that highlight the intergenerational, spiritual, communal, and sheer family quality of the Assembly: "I loved watching my grandkids jump endlessly off the dock into the Saco River until they were blue but wanted more, and remembering I used to do the same... hearing lectures and discussions that bring esoteric topics to life to become pertinent in our daily lives... reconnecting with friends and family, some seen only once a year... living life without the usual daily responsibilities enabling us to go a little deeper spiritually... practicing a more heavenly life here on earth."

© Beki Greenwood 2016

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