Rev. David Peters Honored with 2022 Silver Lake Award


By Brian Lapis

The Rev. David Peters accepted the 2022 Silver Lake Award at a celebration at Farmington Gardens on April 24, 2022. Silver Lake Board Chair Jonathan Russell, left, and Executive Director The Rev. Ryan Gackenheimer (right, with Joya), presented the award.

The Silver Lake glitterati were especially sparkly on the afternoon of April 24 at the Silver Lake Award Celebration, honoring the Rev. David Peters. The event celebrated Rev. Peters’ 40 years of service and ministry at Silver Lake as a camper, counselor, staffer, dean, and volunteer.   

The Silver Lake Award recognizes someone whose life has been visibly shaped by the core values of Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center and who, in turn, lives their life and faith in a way that reflects the formative experiences they have had at Silver Lake. 

As the theme of the Silver Lake Award suggests, Dave Peters has taken the core values of Silver Lake and applied them beyond Low Road. Parishioners from the Roxbury Congregational Church and David’s friends from The Essex Steam Train & Riverboat were there to fete his Silver Lake honors! 

Executive Conference Minister Rev. Darrell Goodwin, the Rev. Scooter Pitman, Robert Bradway from the Essex Steam, Scott Waddell, and Kyla Peters gave tributes to David.

In his speech, David spoke about his decades-long love for Silver Lake, lifting Alden Tyrol as a mentor, and the special kind of people the Silver Lake experience creates. 

“The theme of community keeps coming back to me,” he said. “Inclusion, honoring all people for who they are, to seek a balance of leadership and personalities on work teams and committees, expressing gratitude, and seeking to match gifts and talents with tasks/work/vocation. These are things that we can do each day in our lives, no matter how common or special. Any one of us can do this… Most of us, who have had the Silver Lake experience, seek to live this out. In that sense, most of us are already Silver Lake Award nominees--and award recipients!”

The Silver Lake Award Celebration is a terrific opportunity for all Lakers to reconnect with the camp we love. 

“I left the Silver Lake Award Celebration with a renewed sense of community that can only be felt in the presence of those who know the Silver Lake ‘Loves’,” said alum Andrea Olson. “It was so great to honor one of the Lake’s dedicated servants and hear stories and testimony to how Dave has lived and shared those Silver Lake Loves with all those in his sphere – from his congregation and conferees to his family and fellow steam train enthusiasts.” 

Silver Lake alum Dwight Dagenhart adds, “To see my old friend Dave ‘Peepers’ Peters being honored for something that he has loved doing and loves to do was just a pure joy to me. Add to that, being able to reconnect with old friends and relive a great time in my life, and all you can say is that it was magical. Lastly, my heart filled to see how Silver Lake is evolving and reinventing itself while continuing to lift our youth, and adults too, in the love of God, fellow man, and stewardship of the earth.”

The Silver Lake Award Celebration is also a fundraiser. The silent auction featured more than 40 items. There was also an exciting live auction featuring a one-year Silver Lake cookie club, baked by Chef Lynn Boettger, and two Essex Steam Train dinner train excursions, including an enhanced behind-the-scenes tour with Dave Peters. 

Donors and bidders were very generous at our event. Donations to the Silver Lake Scholarship Fund raised $11,715. Bids on the silent and live auctions raised more than $7,000. Thank you for your generosity!

Nominations are now open for the 2023 Silver Lake Award. Submit your choice at

Make a donation in Dave’s honor at

Brian Lapis

Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center

Silver Lake Camp & Retreat Center is a ministry of the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ.
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223 Low Road | Sharon, CT 06069 | 860.364.5526 | Fax: 860.364.1000 |