On August 4-7, the yearly children’s camp, organized by the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission of ROCOR, was held on the territory of the Russian convent and school in Bethany. 25 children from 6 to 13 years old gathered for the patronal feast in the church of St. Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane. After the service, the youth were divided into groups; their leaders were teenagers, graduates of the Russian Sunday School in Gethsemane.
As part of the program, the children became acquainted with the Old Testament figure, King David, by visiting an archaeological reserve with an underground water tunnel in the City of David. In the afternoon, the campers arrived in Bethany. Sports, games and creative contests prepared by the camp organizers and counselors awaited them there. They all took part in the traditional game “Secret Angel”, which helps children and adults to get to know each other better and show attention and care towards each other. Evening spiritual talks, conducted by priest Roman Gultyaev, and joint prayers spiritually enlightened the children.
The central part of the camp was a trek to the Ein Gedi Desert, where King David hid from Saul. Despite the oppresive heat, the children and adults enjoyed bathing in the waterfalls of the desert oasis. The culmination of the camp was the Divine Liturgy on Saturday, for which the children prepared with confession and received the Holy Mysteries of Christ. The youth took a direct roll in the divine services.
The parents of the children worked tirelessly to help organize the life of the camp.
The camp organizers thanked the head of the REM – Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), Abbess Elisabeth (Smelic) and Nun Maria (Wall) with the sisters of the convent for supporting the children’s event.