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SKYCROFT REFLECTIONS

In 1969 singer-songwriter Carole King wrote and recorded the hit song, “You’ve Got a Friend.” This song has been recorded by numerous artists throughout the years including James Taylor, Anne Murray, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and many more. In 1972, King included “You’ve Got A Friend” on her album “Tapestry” which went on to win a Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

That same year, in the mountains of Middletown, Maryland, the Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware (BCM/D) opened a new retreat center and camp by the name of Skycroft Conference Center. When I think of Skycroft, I am reminded of the chorus to this song which says, (sing it with me) “Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, You’ve got a friend.”

From its inception, our friends at Skycroft have welcomed Maryland and Delaware Baptists with open arms. For the past 50 years Skycroft has been a place where hundreds, if not thousands of people have come to know our ultimate friend, Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior. Whenever I have had the opportunity to visit this beautiful campus, the presence of the Lord has always been felt. Isaiah 52:7 says:

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”

Throughout my years of ministry, I have had the privilege of taking several groups to Skycroft, including Middle, High School and College age students. We always go with the expectation that God will meet us on the mountaintop, and we have never came home disappointed. From sunrise to sunset, you can look around and marvel at the beautiful creation that God has given to us. At Skycroft, you can look up in the skies and realize the truth of Psalm 19:1 which says:

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

Whether you are on a retreat, conference, seminar or just a weekend getaway, Skycroft allows you the opportunity to step away from your normal daily routine and distractions, to unplug and to spend quality - and quantity time - with the Lord. Some of my fondest memories of Skycroft are the sweet times of prayer. bible studies and fellowship. I have also seen many students and adults make decisions for Jesus Christ and grow in the spiritual disciplines of the faith and their walk with the Lord.

Whether you are an adult, youth or child, there is something for everyone at Skycroft. As the song says, “Winter, spring, summer of fall,” the facilities are open year round and the staff is ready and willing to serve the churches of the BCM/D. When you visit Skycroft, you will always be greeted by friendly, knowledgeable staff members and volunteers. Led by our Sister in Christ, Emily Reedy, they love serving the Lord and the churches of our convention.

Recently, the students and leaders from our church at Bayside expressed how impressed they were with the “Reboot” retreat this past January. In addition to the excellent worship, bible study and program, they thought the variety and quality of the cafeteria food was worthy of a 5 star excellent rating. That is a wonderful testimony coming from students! Of course they also enjoyed the extra amenities at Skycroft, especially the “HeBrews” Coffee and Ice Cream shop.

On a personal note, I appreciate the commitment of the BCM/D and Skycroft to develop a weekend retreat for families of children and adults with special needs. This has been a void in the special needs community for some time, and I am thankful that Skycroft is now stepping up to give these families such a blessing. My daughter Anna had a wonderful time at the focused Abilities Retreat last summer, and is anxiously awaiting this year’s retreat which will take place in July.

So on this, your fiftieth anniversary, we say thank you to all those who have faithfully served at Skycroft throughout the years. We rejoice in the wonderful things that the Lord has done and will continue to do on the mountaintop in Middletown, Maryland. We especially thank God for the lives that have been changed and transformed because the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been faithfully preached and taught at Skycroft. If your church or ministry team is looking for a retreat center, please contact our friends at Skycroft. Whether you attend “Student Reboot” in the Winter, Pastor and staff retreats in the Spring, “Crossings” or “CentriKid” in the Summer, and/or Discipleship training events in the Fall, there is something for everyone at Skycroft. Remember, “all you have to do is call,” and our friends at Skycroft will be there for you. I know you won’t be disappointed!

• For Skycroft bookings: Phone: 800-536-6759; Email: skycroft@skycroft.org. For more information, please also check out their website at: www.skycroft.org.

Rev. Glenn Swanson serves as the Senior Pastor of Bayside Baptist Church in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland and is also currently serving as the President of the Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware. He can be reached via email at: glenn.swanson@baysidebaptist.com. All scripture quoted is English Standard Version (ESV).

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