Swing State Song & Story Fest 2018: Becoming the Beloved Community

July 8-14, 2018

Inspiration Hills, Burbank, Ohio

A unique Family Camp featuring Brethren musicians and storytellers in the glacial hills and valleys of northern Ohio.


(Song and Story Fest, 2014)

Seems like our culture and country can’t decide who it is and what it wants.

We swing back and forth between Democrats and Republicans, welcoming and repelling immigrants, healthcare for all and insurance on your own, environmental protection and exploitation, racial reconciliation and demonization.  We can’t even decide if we like government or hate it, or if God is on the side of the rich or the poor.  We are in a state of swing!

When confusion and division are rampant, it’s time to go back to basics.  What does our experience and our Christian faith teach us is important?

God wants us to be a beloved community.

A community Grounded in God, who loves all people, all creation.

 A community that is Insistently Inclusive,

Courageously Christian in following Jesus’ way of being Consistently Compassionate, Prophetically Progressive, and Oddly Organized, but somehow Clearly Committed!

At the Fest, through music and stories and community interaction, we open ourselves to the holy so that our life and work and struggles move more in time with the energizing Spirit of Life to help us become God’s Beloved Community.   Join us for this 22nd annual gathering as we invite the Lord of the Dance to lead us all, wherever we may be, in our swinging state of uncertainty and our ongoing journey together.

Storytellers and Workshop Leaders:

Heidi Beck      Susan Boyer      Debbie Eisenbise

Jonathan Hunter     Jim Lehman

Campfire, Workshop, and Concert Musicians:

Greg & Rhonda Baker      Louise Brodie     Peg Lehman

Jeffrey Faus & Jenny Stover-Brown    Erin & Cody Robertson    Mutual Kumquat   

Ethan Setiawan/Theory Expats   Mike Stern

An Intergenerational Camp for All Ages - Single persons and families of any size and shape will enjoy this combination of performance and participation. 

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
  • Root and ground ourselves in the Jesus Way
  • Move in time with the Spirit of Life
  • Remember that we are beloved
  • Celebrate peace, creation, and life
  • Dance in circles, lines, and squares
  • Learn the skills of peace-making and justice-seeking

AfternoonsFree for family time, recreation, nature walks, story swaps, and music making.

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

Song & Story Fest #22

This is the twenty-second summer in a row for these Song and Story Fests and our third visit to Inspiration Hills, the Church of the Brethren camp for northern Ohio.  We will be gathering the week after Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio.  We will begin Sunday evening, July 8, with supper at 5:00 pm, an opening campfire, and some music and dancing. The Fest will close Saturday morning, July 14, after breakfast, worship, and hugs.

On Earth Peace co-sponsors the Fest, providing leadership and administrative support and liability insurance coverage as ”Inspiration Hills will be held harmless in case of accident, injury, or death during this event.”

Inspiration Hills lies along Killbuck Creek in the northwest corner of Wayne County on Ohio Rt. 604, a few miles south of I-71 and Burbank.  This glaciated area of woods and farms offers a variety of terrains and a multitude of plant and animal life.  Hiking trails wander through dense stands of native hardwoods, transitional forests, groves of pine and deep ravines carved in limestone shale.  A small human-made lake provides for swimming and boating and there are plenty of opportunities for 4-square, beach volleyball, softball, and more.  Photos and additional information about Inspiration Hills can be found at www.inspirationhillscamp.org . Shannon M. Kahler is the Camp Director and the phone number is 1-419-846-3010 if you need additional information or assistance.

Housing will be in lodges and cabins on bunk beds, though you may choose to bring a tent and there is room for a few RVs without connections. 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.  Hot showers are provided in common bathrooms.  There are no motel style rooms onsite for those with advanced age or special needs, but distances are short, bathrooms are close and we can reserve you a lower bunk.  Motel lodging is available in Wooster, Ohio.  Call Ken for details.  Bring a lawn or folding chair if you can.

Food - Vegetarian options will be available at all meals.  If you have special dietary or housing needs, please note them on your registration and we’ll do our best to meet them.  

Bring a new Table Grace to add to our repertoire.

Craft Projects  - Contact Ken if you have a good craft project to share and lead.  We can reimburse you for materials!


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                   $320

Teens                    $210

Children 4 - 12       $150

Maximum Total Fee per Family  -  $900

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

Daily Fee -  $40/adult, $30/teen, $20/child, $100/family, includes all meals and program. Lodging is an additional $20/night/person.

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

We prefer that you mail registrations and checks to the address below:

On Earth Peace, P. O. Box 188; New Windsor, MD  21776

Phone: 410-635-8704 | Fax: 410-635-8707 | [email protected]

Or send registration by email to: [email protected]

Call Darlene Johnson at 410-635-8704 to pay by credit card or ask registration questions.

Click here to download the registration form.

Click here to download the complete brochure.


Travel - Cleveland, OH is the closest major airport, about 50 miles away. Email Ken if you would like assistance with ground transportation from the airport.


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]




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