Springtime at Silver Lake


It’s May and Silver Lake is a busy hive of activity as staff and volunteers sprint to ready the campus and programs for the summer’s first campers. So much needs to be finished and done, from completing a rebuild of the main dining hall dish room, adding tents and canvas pavilions to allow for COVID-spaced outdoor dining, and rewriting protocols for everything with an eye towards the unique requirements of these days. So much will be different this summer, with cohorts and masks, COVID tests and distancing. But what will be the same is the core – it will always be Silver Lake.

As a beekeeper, I especially love spring time. Watching the hives come out of their winter clusters, each queen getting busy laying tens of thousands of eggs, and the workers rearing the brood that then takes their turn rearing the next batch. And then you get to late April and May, and the trees and flowers burst forth and the hives seems to explode with activity. Nectar flows into each hive by the gallon, and gets condensed and stored as honey.

Harvesting a crop of honey is certainly a fun part of beekeeping, but my favorite part is simply the bees. I love watching workers transition through a dozen different pre-ordained jobs as each bee progresses over her short life. From caring for the queen, then rearing brood, to building wax comb and storing honey, to foraging for nectar or pollen, and finally to defending the hive – each worker bee unquestioningly does each of these tasks when it is her time.

There are many parallels between a hive of bees and the best of God’s world – a land “flowing with milk and honey”, and even the Pope’s seal includes a beehive. Noted Professor Richard Beal wrote, “The amazing parallel between the church and a hive of bees is so close it almost seems providential. The God-given principles that hold Christians in this necessary fellowship are the same principles that keep a hive of bees together. To see a living illustration of how to walk in unity, we could do no better than to look into a hive of bees.”

Silver Lake is an amazing green place where all people can safely gather to grow, play, and learn amidst God’s infinite love. Quite simply, Silver Lake is a place that transforms people’s lives. Children and adults learn to look inside themselves to learn who they are. Perhaps more importantly, each person learns to look outside themselves, to grow and learn as part of the wider group, and to do various assigned tasks when it is their time. Silver Lake provides an environment that builds character, strength and humility. To go back to the hive analogy, people learn to “be like a bee, it’s not about me.”

The summer of 2021 will be an amazing adventure, with the wonderful return of campers amidst the tail-end of the pandemic. The lake, cabins and trees will host the gleeful laughter of God’s children as they play and learn and grow. Thank God for Silver Lake.

Jonathan Russell
Chair, Silver Lake Board of Directors

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.
Click here to read our Mission Statement.

223 Low Road | Sharon, CT 06069 | 860.364.5526 | Fax: 860.364.1000 | slcrc@silverlakect.org