WOW!!! What a weekend! Many kudos to Pam and her crew for putting together a delightful and inspiring weekend. It was called a “Festival“, but “Retreat” better describes to spirit and mood of the gathering. It was a time to “retreat“, to put aside the cares and concerns of what was going on outside, and concentrate on what the Lord was in our midst to teach us and encourage us with.
For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst. (Matthew 18:20)
We were certainly more than “two or three“, and we could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit among us. Besides being physically-naked, it was a safe place to be emotionally and spiritually naked as well. Yes, we laughed and we cried, and our darkest secrets saw the Light of Life as we became open to the healing touch of the Great Physician.
One lady, who was struggling with her faith because of some very bad things in her life, found the love of Christ in our midst and recommitted her life to Christ. Friday evening she was asking; “If there is a God, and He is good, why did He allow these things to happen to me?“, and Sunday morning, she approached the Table of the Lord, left her burdens at the foot of the Cross, and accepted His healing and restoration in the Communion. Only the Holy Spirit could have worked that change in her life.
We gathered Friday evening for fellowship, ice-cream and to worship and adore our awesome God. Pastor David Hatton RN was our featured speaker for the weekend, and he came loaded. After we partook of the ice-cream and fellowshipped a while, we sang a few hymns. Pastor Hatton gave us a preview of what he had prepared for the Saturday morning “keynote” message.
We ended the evening with prayer, and BTW, there was ice-cream left over…
We gathered Saturday morning for a lite breakfast and fellowship before we began in earnest.
9 AM: Pastor Hatton gave his “keynote address” on the theme “Caring for the Garden: Genesis 2:15“. He asked four questions:
Why did God create us as body-spirit beings in the first place?
How does Christ’s incarnation demonstrate our calling in a fallen creation?
What are the material and spiritual dimensions of Christian ecology?
Why are we meant to be co-creating “friends” of the Creator and not just servants?
Rather than trying to summarize the message, since I didn’t take notes, you can download it and listen for yourself.
10 AM: Meeting with God in nature. Pastor Dan, the pastor of Garden of Eden Church, led us on a walk along one of the nature trails in Lake Como. We stopped along the way to drink from God’s Word and contemplate our place in His creation. We were all naked and a couple of people even walked bare-foot, so we got to sense what it might have been like for Adam and Eve to walk naked with God in the Garden.
11 AM: Christian Labyrinth. Pastor Mike led the group through a labyrinth. Unfortunately my legs gave out on me part way through the nature walk so I had to sit out that event. Leg cramps are NO fun.
Lunch: We were on our own for lunch, but several of us gathered in the Rec Hall and fellowshipped while we ate our lunch.
1 PM: There were two different sessions during that time.
Brother Norman led a group discussion on “Victory through Grief and Suffering“. Norman lost his wife this past January after a long illness, an illness that had dogged them their entire relationship. It was intense.
Pastor Mike led a session on “Centering Prayer“, exploring the meaning behind Matthew 6:6.
2 PM: Brother Dale led a group discussion about being a Christian and a nudist, under the theme “Nude Christians“. That discussion got cut short so we could prepare to participate in the World Record Skinny Dip, but we agreed to pick it up during our evening session.
3 PM: 2015 AANR World Record Skinny Dip. We joined about 250 other nudists in the Lake Como pool for the WRSD.
Supper: We were on our own for supper, but again, many of us joined in fellowship with our Brother and Sisters over food.
7 PM: Fellowship of Christian Naturists. Remember that ice-cream that was left over? We dug in again before gathering with the pastors and event leaders for a round-table discussion of Christian naturism. We closed that session by gathering in a circle, hand in hand, to pray about whatever was on our hearts. “Where two or three are gathered in My name, I am in their midst”.
We gathered for a lite brunch and fellowship before the morning service.
11 AM: We worshipped together naturally. After singing a couple of hymns, Pastor Hatton opened our time with prayer, and then opened the service for a time of sharing. You would have had to be there to realize what had happened in our midst that was shared that morning. The Holy Spirit was at work, and in a big way.
Pastor Hatton spoke on “The Table of Reconciliation“. We are to bring what needs to “die” in us to the foot of the Cross, as represented by the Table of the Lord, and take up new life as we partake of Communion.
When it was time for Communion, the Table was before us, and we were invited to approach the Table when we felt it was our time, leave at the Table whatever needed to “die“, and take new life in Christ from the Table. It was a solemn time, and there was no rush to “get it over with“. We were restored through taking Communion.
After Communion, we sang a hymn and Pastor Hatton closed the Festival with prayer.
Christian Nudist Convocation (CNC) is a loose-knit organization whose mission is the proclaim the Good News of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the nudist/naturist community. What the mainstream church sees as their “Samaria” is our “Jerusalem“. The nudist/naturist community is our mission-field. We are represented coast-to-coast, and we have a growing-number of resort-fellowships, with more in the planning-stages.
Pastor David Hatton RN: Pastor Hatton was our featured speaker. He is a pastor of a small church in California, a Labor and Delivery Nurse, and the author of several books of poetry and his semi-autobiographical novel “Meeting At The River“. His website is: http://www.pastordavidrn.com.
Tom Pine: Tom and his lovely wife were there, and I had a wonderful opportunity to get to know them. Tom has been active in the Christian naturist community for many years, both as a writer and as one of the founders of CNC. Tom was a regular contributor to the Fig Leaf Forum, and he has his own website as well. It is: http://www.thenakedtruthnaturists.com.
Pam: Pam is the “sparkplug” of Garden of Eden Church at Lake Como. The Garden of Eden Church website is: http://www.gardenofedenchurch.org.
Pastor Dan: Pastor Dan is the pastor of Garden of Eden Church.
Cameron Bennett: Cameron is our east-coast CNC board-member, and is heavily-involved in the CNC mission. He has a zeal for furthering God’s kingdom and the mission of CNC.
Dale Deg: Dale is working towards starting a mission-work in California.
These are just a few of the wonderful people I met at the Festival.
Besides being able to spend two full days au naturel, it was a great weekend. The fellowship was wonderful, and being able to worship our God naturally was an awesome experience. That is the epitome of coming to God “Just as I am“.
Jesus said, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)