Muddy Waters Song & Story Fest:

Exploring the Heights and Depths of Community  

July 7-13, 2024

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 28th Song & Story Fest.

But we’re also still floundering in the muddy waters of national and international turmoil.  

Seven 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 we don’t know about you, but our 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 in these hard and muddy times 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 then plunge back into the muddy waters with the exasperating/beautiful people around us. 

Come and muck about with us in the 2024 Swamp!


Storytellers and Workshop Leaders:


Susan Boyer     Debbie Eisenbise     Anna Lisa Gross  

 Kathy Guisewite    Jonathan Hunter     Jim Lehman     


Campfire, Workshop, and Concert Musicians:


Greg & Rhonda Baker       Louise Brodie       Hannah Button-Harrison 

Jenny & Jeffrey Faus Family       Erin and Cody Flory Robertson

Chris Good       Tim & Byron Joseph & Marlene Wood   

Brian Kruschwitz       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 #28:

This is the twenty-eighth 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 7, with supper at 5:30 p.m., an opening campfire, and some music and dancing.  We’ll close the Fest on Saturday morning, July 13, 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 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 Michelle Davis ([email protected]) 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                                   $ 370.00

Teens 13 - 19                       $ 240.00

Children 5 - 12                     $ 160.00

Maximum Fee per Family    $ 1000.00

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.


Daily Fee -  $45/adult, $30/teen, $20/child, $120/family, includes all meals and program. Lodging is an additional $15/night/person.


Contact Rachel Long at [email protected] if you need financial help.


Register here: Song and Story Fest Online Registration Form

and pay online

- OR -

Send a check 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 general questions, email the Song and Story Fest planning committee at [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 Michelle Davis ([email protected]) if you would like assistance with ground transportation from the airport or Annual Conference.  Check the Camp website for driving instructions.



When is the event?

Sunday, July 07, 2024 at 05:30 PM through July 07, 2024


Camp Brethren Heights
9478 Brethren Heights Rd
Rodney, MI 49342
United States
Google map and directions


Tina Rieman ·

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  • Webmaster and Data Admin
    published this page in Events 2024-02-07 15:43:56 -0500