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[The Episcopal News – Indianapolis] The House of Bishops, meeting here at General Convention, on July 7 honored Los Angeles’ own Canon Peter Bergstrom for his devotion to young people and camping ministries.

Bergstrom, retiring after 40 years as Camp Stevens executive director, addressed the July 7 afternoon session of the House of Bishops in Indianapolis, thanking them for supporting the camping ministry of the church.

Bergstrom, who will continue as executive director of the national Episcopal Camp and Conference Centers (ECCC), urged bishops to be proactive because “camping is a gateway into the church.”

“We are all concerned about the future of the Episcopal Church. We can’t afford to lose anyone,” he said. “We need to reinvest in youth ministry and young adult ministry. That’s the future and if we don’t do that it’s going to be really difficult for the church to survive in the long run.

“I would argue that summer camp is still the most effective way to reach the most people with the greatest impact of all the things we do,” he added. He urged bishops to attend camp sessions themselves.

“I urge you to invest all you can in that ministry,” he said. “This is the way we develop loving and caring Christians and lifelong Episcopalians. It’s so important for the children, the parents, the clergy in the diocese to see the bishop spending time at camp.”

He also invited bishops to stop by the ECCC booth during General Convention. “We are here to support our bishops and directors in their camping programs and to help our camps and conference centers survive and thrive,” he said. “Come by our booth and tell us what we can do to help you.”