2020 Song & Story Fest

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Muddy Waters Song & Story Fest: Exploring the Heights and Depths of Community

July 5-11, 2020 | Camp Brethren Heights, Rodney, Michigan

A Family Camp featuring Brethren musicians and storytellers in the woods and lakelands of central Michigan!

Seems like we’ve been here before!

Yes, we’re back in central Michigan for the 24th Song & Story Fest.

But we’re also still floundering in the muddy waters of national and denominational turmoil. Three years ago the brochure read:

“It seems like we are coursing down a raging river of ignorance and regression. Bouncing around and over big and dangerous rapids that threaten to capsize us, we are in the midst of deep waters on all sides: religious, political, and economic differences that divide and conquer any unity we might experience as one people, under God’s care and guidance.”

Actually, today we are more mired in muddy waters than bouncing down rapids.

And I don’t know about you, but my sense of community seems to be getting smaller and more limited than ever, at least domestically.
Brethren, Christian, American – Do you even want to claim to be part of these communities?

But maybe these are the hard and muddy times in which we are called to witness and proclaim the values that we have learned from Jesus and these very same communities.

Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that being community isn’t easy, that it carries highs and lows. So, you are invited to join us in Exploring the Heights and Depths of Community!

Together we’ll find some islands of hope and understanding to rest upon and regroup, and to re-engage with the muddy waters and the exasperating/beautiful people around us.

Come and muck about with us in the 2020 Swamp!

Storytellers and Workshop Leaders:

Susan Boyer | Debbie Eisenbise | Kathy Guisewite | Matt Guynn
Jonathan Hunter | Jim Lehman | Barbara West

Campfire, Workshop, and Concert Musicians:

Greg & Rhonda Baker | Louise Brodie | Erin & Cody Flory Robertson
Chris Good | Sadie Gustafson-Zook | Bill Jolliff | Tim & Byron Joseph | Brian Krushwitz & LuAnne Harley | Peg Lehman | Mike Stern

Join us on the lakeshore at Camp Brethren Heights!

An Intergenerational Camp for All Ages:

Single persons and families of any size and shape will enjoy this combination of performance and participation in the wooded hills and lakes of central Michigan.

Mornings - Intergenerational gatherings and worship will be followed by workshops for adults, children, and youth to help us:

  • Reconnect with the God of all creation and with each other
  • Tell the stories that make for peace and rekindle faith
  • Sing the words of our hearts in gratitude for the unceasing power of life
  • Root and ground ourselves in the Jesus Way
  • Deepen our connections with each other and the earth
  • Celebrate peace, creation, and life
  • Dance in circles, lines, and squares
  • Learn the skills of peace-making and justice-seeking
  • Afternoons - Free for family time, recreation, nature walks, story swaps, and music making.

Evenings - Campfires, snacks, and concerts or a folk dance.

Song & Story Fest #24:

This is the twenty-fourth summer in a row for these Song and Story Fests and is our third venture into the great state of Michigan, home to a number of regular participants and leaders. The Fest will begin on Sunday evening, July 5, with supper at 5:30 p.m., an opening campfire, and some music and dancing. We’ll close the Fest on Saturday morning, July 11, after breakfast, worship and hugs.

On Earth Peace will again co-sponsor the Fest, providing leadership and administrative support.

Camp Brethren Heights is located amid the lakes of central Michigan near Rodney, Michigan, about 64 miles north of Grand Rapids off US-131, Exit 139 (Big Rapids), and then approximately 16 miles east on M-20 and other roads. Check out the website at www.campbrethrenheightsmi.org for directions and more about the Camp.

The Camp overlooks Jehnsen Lake which is great for swimming, canoeing, and fishing. The Camp even owns a small island in the lake, a favorite destination. There are plenty of opportunities to interact with nature on hiking trails, mucking in the swamp, watching the eagles and loons, and more!

Lodging - Campers will sleep in rustic cabins or dorms furnished with bunk beds (all now have electricity) or in your own tent or RV. Plan on sharing cabin space with other individuals or families, so please, on your registration indicate anyone with whom you want to share space. Please bring your own bedding and towels as the Camp doesn’t provide these. There are a number of hookups for RVs with electricity (20 or 30 amp). Hot showers are provided in common bathhouses. There are no motel style rooms available in camp for those with advanced age/special needs. If needed, look for hotels in Big Rapids, a 20 minute drive.

Food - Judy Gump and Arlene Kindy will be cooking for us again this year, so complete vegetarian options will be available at every meal. If you have special dietary, health or housing needs, please note them on your registration and we’ll do our best to meet them. Please bring a new table grace to add to our repertoire.

Craft Project - Contact Ken if you have a good craft project to share and lead.

Registration and Fees:

Registration includes all meals, on-site facilities, and leadership; and is based upon age. Children 4 and under are welcome, no charge.

- Adults $ 350.00
- Teens 13 - 19 $ 210.00
- Children 5 - 12 $ 160.00

Maximum Fee per Family $ 950.00

Daily Fee - $45/adult, $25/teen, $20/child, $100/family, includes all meals and program. Lodging is an additional $15/night/person

Please register now and remit the entire fee by June 1. Registrations post-marked after June 1 should add 10% as a late fee. No discount for off-site, tent or RV housing.

Download the registration form, click here.

Contact Ken Kline Smeltzer at [email protected] if you need financial help.

Call Darlene Johnson at 410-635-8704 to pay by credit card or ask registration questions; you may also mail registrations and checks (saves us money) to the address below:

On Earth Peace, P. O. Box 188; New Windsor, MD 21776
Phone: 410-635-8704 - Eastern Std.Time; [email protected]

For additional information or with program questions contact:

Ken Kline Smeltzer, Director, 1452 Willowbrook Drive, Boalsburg, PA 16827-1668
814-571-0495 (mobile); 814-466-6491 (home); or [email protected]

We expect a high turnout, so be advised to register early!

If you live nearby, please bring a lawn chair to sit on.

Travel - Grand Rapids is the closest airport, about 80 miles away. Email Ken if you would like assistance with ground transportation from the airport or Annual Conference.


July 05, 2020 at 5:30pm - July 11, 2020
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Camp Brethren Heights
9478 Brethren Heights Rd
Rodney, MI 49342
United States
Google map and directions
Ken Kline Smeltzer · · 814-571-0495
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