If we read the scripture verse, “He will come to us like the rain” Hosea 6:3, then today the Lord was truly with us! A few down pours and flooding in the surrounding area, but the spirit at Fanari Camp and the high ground of the St. Iakovos Retreat Center, rose above it all!
To prepare us for the Divine Liturgy on Saturday and to receive the Holy Eucharist, we all participated in the sacrament of Holy Confession. Thank you to our visiting clergy, Fr. Apostolos Georgiafentis, Fr. Sam Dimitriou, Fr. Leo Gavrilos, who served along side Fr. Sotiri Malamis and Fr. Chris Mihalopoulos to hear confessions. A peaceful time to free us of all that weighs heavily on our minds and souls.
Our “Flex” activity today was Arts & Crafts with Alex Magdalinos, who instructed us on how to create a mosaic icon of Christ, by gluing tiles all around. What a beautiful keepsake of our time at camp, to keep by our home iconostasion and venerate.
Due to all the rain showers saturating the fields, free-time was kept inside, but there was no shortness of fun and fellowship within the walls of our Main Lodge! Campers and staff enjoyed time together to show off their tavli skills, play card games, make friendship bracelets, watch the movie, “UP” and enjoy sweet treats from the Camp Store. Even when we’re just relaxing, we’re growing in friendships and faith at Fanari!
Tonight’s evening activity was the inspiring “Night with the Saints”. Rotating between two activities, we first welcomed Fr. Loukas Gikas and Fr. George Lamberis, who brought relics of the Holy Cross, 40 Holy Martyrs, St. Haralambos, St. Martin, St. Paul, St. Nicholas, St. Basil, St. Constantine, St. Helen, St. Anna and many more for us to venerate. They explained that a saint is a person who is healed in Christ. We also had the blessing of being anointed with the Holy Myrrh from the weeping icon of St. John the Baptist at Assumption, Homer Glen, IL and received a photo icon of the miracle, to keep by our iconostasion at home. Our next rotation was with Fr. Chris Mihalopoulos and Louie Pappas, where campers talked about how keepsakes are what our faith is about. They’re not about death, but about life! Venerating the relics of the saints is how we honor and remember them. A truly holy night, discovering the depths and beauty, which is our Orthodox faith!
Rounding out the night was our traditional Sing-a-long with Fr. George Lamberis, who lead us in some of our favorites, “Deep”, “Pharaoh, Pharaoh”, “I Am a C”, “Seek Ye First”, “Father I Adore You” and introduced us to “Shine On”. He captivated the audience with a thrilling rendition of “Boomba! Hey!” and finally, taught the campers how to make rain with their hands. So much fun! So many smiles! So thankful to be a part of Fanari Camp!
At Closing Day, our Staff Director, Maria Pentaris talked about the impact that her 24 years at Fanari Camp has made in her life, and that we should continue to grow stronger in our faith after we leave camp and challenge ourselves to be truly worshipping Orthodox Christians. If we cultivate the relationships that we make at Fanari, they will turn into life long friendships to cherish.
Camp is quiet tonight after another fulfilling day. May we all be blessed with a restful sleep, to prepare us for another glorious day at Fanari Camp. Kali Nixta!