- Saturday: 6PM
- Sunday: 9 & 10:45AM
Thanks for your prayers as we process the grief and practical details related to our own fire destruction at Camp Hammer.
Here are the three most frequently asked questions:
These funds will be used to help fire victims in the weeks and months ahead.
From multiple photos taken by first responders we can confirm that, with the exception of three of the original cabins and two sheds, all other buildings at Camp Hammer were destroyed by the fire. Of the three surviving cabins, Azalea appears to be untouched. The other two, Maple and Oak, were damaged but are still standing. Whether or not they are salvageable remains to be determined.
We will provide further information when we are able to inspect the property. In the meantime please continue to pray for our Camp Hammer staff. Housing has been arranged for all of them in town, but they carry the grief and shock of losing their homes and workplace. Please pray also that God will bless and direct our steps as we seek His will for the future of Camp Hammer--a ministry God has used to impact thousands upon thousands of lives for the past 55 years.
Our camp staff are now all without permanent lodging, because most of the buildings at Camp Hammer were destroyed. Please keep them in your prayers as they process this difficult loss. We are providing for staff— both their material needs and emotional needs such as trauma counseling–– through the staff benevolence fund. You can contribute to that at tlc.org/give and in the memo write “STAFF BENEVOLENCE”.
CAMP HAMMER FIRE UPDATE
We've heard from many of you who would like to volunteer with cleanup efforts at Camp Hammer! Thank you for your love of camp and desire to serve! At the moment we are finalizing a work plan that is focused on erosion control and containing debris from the burned structures. This will involve installing straw waddles, silt fences and sand bags. However, before we can perform the work we need to make sure it can be done safely--especially when it comes to our volunteers.
We will be providing updates and additional details once we have finalized the work plan. To receive these updates directly please email
Thanks again and God Bless!
INTERVIEW WITH ERIC AND SARAH
Many of you have been asking how our camp director Eric Swanson-Dexel, his family, and the staff are doing. Rene met via zoom with Eric and Sarah to answer your most frequently asked questions about the fire.
UPDATE FROM RENE & MARK
Hello dear friends,
Our Camp Hammer was severely damaged by the wildfire on Tuesday night August 18. First let me say we are very grateful our staff are all safe.
However, after two visits to the site, we can confirm that, with the exception of three of the original cabins, the field stage, and two sheds, all other buildings at Camp Hammer were completely destroyed by the fire. Of the three cabins, Azalea appears to be untouched. The other two, Maple and Oak, were damaged but are still standing. Whether or not they are salvageable remains to be determined. We are assessing the situation with expert consultants. While we hope to rebuild, many questions about remain unanswered; our next steps will become clearer as debris is removed over the next several months.
Please continue to pray for our Camp Hammer staff. Housing has been arranged for all of them, but they carry the grief and shock of losing their homes and workplace. Please pray also that God will bless and direct our steps as we seek His will for the future of Camp Hammer--a ministry God has used to impact thousands upon thousands of lives for the past 55 years.
On hearing this news, those of us with personal ties to camp are shocked, saddened, angry, in denial—in other words, we are grieving. All of these emotions crash in on us at these moments. And all those emotions are valid. They are all a part of the grief process.
But there is one emotion we must resist: Despair.
We must resist despair because first, we know that the ministry of Camp Hammer goes on today in the lives of thousands of campers and staff who were born into the faith there, and grew in the faith there. Today Camp Hammer alumni live all over the world, many in full-time ministry, the Camp Hammer Effect rippling out across the globe every day. No fire that can extinguish that. Is Camp Hammer destroyed? No. Today Camp Hammer is still in California and New York and Japan and Europe and Africa, through the lives of all those shaped there spiritually over decades.
Most of all, in these moments we must recall the central story of our faith:The death and resurrection of Jesus, the most awful tragedy and the most joyful triumph anyone ever experienced.
The cross was real, and tragic, but the empty tomb is real too. Jesus lives. He lives today.
And this is our hope. This is what keeps us going. This is why we can go forward with new hope for the future. No matter how dark it gets, we remember that God ultimately transforms each terrible cross into joyful resurrection. This is the arc, the plotline, of our faith, and through faith I believe we will experience it again even in this.
So today, let’s grieve together, but let’s not despair. Let’s not lose hope. Yes, in life we live through agonizing crucifixions. Loved ones, cherished hopes, and even beloved places, sometimes die.
But our faith reminds us that this is not the end of the story. Not ever. In unexpected ways, resurrection always follows.
Thanks for reading, and for your continued prayers.
Much love in Christ,
Rene Schlaepfer & Mark Spurlock
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
God’s promise is not that fires won’t come; his promise is that we will not be utterly consumed by them, because we know our hope is not in our homes or material goods; our hope is ultimately in Him, and He will shepherd us through every dark valley…
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
Isaiah 43:1b-3a NLT