Friday, May 22, 2015

The Elizabeth Ford Holt Chapel of the Woods

By Wayne D. King

I’ve never been one for organized religion.

Not that my mother didn’t try. . . she tried and tried: Church every Sunday, youth groups, religious retreats, you name it and she sent me or escorted me off to it. She even made my sisters and I watch Billy Graham on TV, in fact it was the only allowable excuse for being up past 8pm in our house. Alas, from her perspective, none of it took. So you’d think that today I would be a lost soul, without any spiritual grounding.

You’d be wrong. I learned about God in the Pines. 

As a boy at Camp Mowglis on Newfound Lake most of my most formative life experiences took place. Experiences that, more than any others, shaped who I would become. Each year I learned more and more about the outdoors and myself and each year I grew in confidence. Ecumenical services, conducted under the pines, by the older boys, with a relevant message from a counselor or the director William Baird Hart always allowed me to reflect on those experiences. But they also allowed me to look inside myself and to gaze into the beyond.

Now, in my middle age, I realize that there are few things more sacred to me than those moments in the Elizabeth Ford Holt Chapel of the Woods. . . because I felt the presence of a higher power there.  Sitting, alone at times, and often with others among the towering pines, one couldn’t help but feel that.

Most folks don’t know about the Chapel. It is nestled into the side of the hill along the shores of Newfound. If camp is not in session (usually camp is from the last week in June until the second week in August), the folks there are happy to let you wander down and the chapel is available for special private or public events as well in the off-season. Call Mowglis to ask permission 603-744-8095 . . .

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