Published: May 20, 2016
Annette Brill Bergstresser
Camping staff members follow call to seminary
This year, 10 of the 33 first-year students at AMBS share a common background as staff members at Mennonite camps and retreat centers. Meet one of the 10: Renee Reimer of Kansas City, Kan.
Rainbow Mennonite Church, Kansas City, Kan.
Education and program of study
I majored in music education with a minor in art at Bethel College, North Newton, Kan. I am currently a Master of Divinity Connect student with an emphasis on Christian Faith Formation.
How did your camp staff experience play a role in bringing you to seminary?
I have served at Camp Mennoscah, Murdock, Kan., as a counselor and input leader. I actually think it was the other way around for me. Because I was taking seminary classes, the camp directors asked me to lead input instead of counseling last summer. I found that being an input leader at camp provided more opportunities to talk with youth and plan activities that led to deeper discussions about faith in cabin groups.
Are there any specific stories you could share?
For one of the input sessions I planned a meditative prayer walk for junior youth. It was a long, hot hour of silence. The whole time I kept wondering if this was a good idea and if the youth were getting anything out of it. It turns out this activity happened to get some of the youth who had never talked during input to share about their experiences at some of the different prayer stations. It was also pretty great to hear that that input was a camper’s favorite thing about camp. Hallelujah!
What are your thoughts about the future?
I would love to be more involved with music and worship planning in some capacity. I have also found the importance of emphasizing children’s voices in the church and making sure their buckets are being filled spiritually and intellectually.
More student stories
- Read "It only takes a spark: Camping ministry is common thread in AMBS students’ experiences", the feature article highlighting various students whose work at Mennonite camps and retreat centers helped spark their call to seminary.
- Read stories from Scott Litwiller, Michael Unruh, Michelle Curtis, Jeff Boehr, Lee Hiebert, Melissa Atchison, Brian O’Leary, Joel Beachy and Ben Bouwman.
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