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Wade Zick tells of strategic planning, shares reflections

Wade Zick, managing director of Pilgrim Firs, the PNC camp and conference center at Port Orchard, sees that in the last 18 months, Pilgrim Firs has lived into the purpose statement the conference board of directors adopted a few years ago. That purpose is “to provide a sacred oasis for creativity and community.”

Top: Work is underway to enlarge the labyrinth at Pilgrim Firs. Below: Raised beds are being filled in the Pride Garden.
Photos courtesy of Pilgrim Firs

That statement has provided wisdom and guiding principles informing Pilgrim Firs’ direction.

The COVID isolation and quarantine center that Pilgrim Firs provided for more than 15 months was the community aspect to the statement.

“There was no way that we did not need the creativity and the communal resources from throughout the conference to provide that ministry,” Wade said.

COVID still has impact with groups not being present and what he hopes are just short-term financial implications in the camp’s 65 years of doing ministry.

Wade asks now, with the camp strategic plan for 2017 to 2021 ending this year:

• What is next for Pilgrim Firs?

• What does our site need to meet this next generation of campers?

• How do we stay relevant for many more decades of ministry?

Pilgrim Firs and the conference are partnering with Kaleidoscope to help us navigate a discernment process over the next eight months “to listen to our communities and what needs they perceive,” he said.

Those communities include the PNC churches, guitar camp groups, the stone sculpture group and Warrior PATHH.

Warrior PATHH, the newest partner, will be on site 12 weeks a year working with post-9/11 veterans and first responders who have been struggling with the impacts of PTSD.

“This is an exciting time of asking how we might live into a fuller expression of being a resource for our current groups and building upon the vision of the previous generation of camp stewards,” Wade said.

Information will be coming about listening groups and ways constituents can share hopes for Pilgrim Firs, can hear results of the strategic planning process and can learn about financial resources needed to move forward.

During the summer, Kaleidoscope was on site at Pilgrim Firs and started their eight to 10-year strategic planning for the camp and conference center.

They plan to present their suggested plan at Annual Meeting 2022, said Wade.

On current activities at Pilgrim Firs, Wade reported the following:

• His sabbatical from Nov. 1 to mid-February will include going to Italy to look at how food relates to hospitality. 

During the sabbatical, Chris Berry, who is the hospitality manager, will take on Wade’s responsibilities.

• The Pride Garden is progressing, and there are plans for a new pickleball / basketball court to be completed over the winter.

• There is an artist-in-residence coming in mid October to be at Pilgrim Firs through next spring.

Reflecting in the summer, Wade shared on Facebook his delight living on 90 acres amid primarily second-growth fir trees on a small spring-fed clear lake.

In paying attention to the small section of earth, he noted the dryness, the wildfire smoke and encroachment of development.

Wade observed that perhaps floods, droughts, fires, diseases and killer hornets are ways mother earth is trying to find healing and balance. 

Some talk of climate change, numbers, disease and rising ocean levels.

Some see disasters as punishment from God for the sins of the people and as a call for repentance or as a sign of apocalyptic end times.

He knows the way one describes the unfolding “natural” balancing / disasters is a place of division. He wonders how others tell the story of what is happening to the earth, and asks: “How can these stories/narratives bring us together rather than further divide?”

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Copyright © Fall 2021 - Pacific Northwest Conference United Church of Christ News


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