“My memory is on fire,” Anne Clarke-Raysor said as she looked around the Trinity Retreat Center. "One thing that stands out for me is this river. There were times when I would walk down and just sit at the edge and just reflect on life, and what I was doing, and it was very calming for me to think about my life and where I wanted to go next."
Clarke-Raysor, like hundreds of other Trinity parishioners and community members, spent childhood summers on the western Connecticut property back when it was Trinity Parish Camp, which operated from 1915-1993.
Former campers and counselors, including Anne Clarke-Raysor (front left), explore the grounds of the Trinity Retreat Center.
During the last weekend in July, the Trinity Retreat Center hosted a reunion for campers and counselors, all eager to revisit the site of their formative summers and share stories with Joe Rose, Executive Director, and the Rev. Daniel Simons, Director of Spiritual Formation.
The Rev. Bob Griffiths, former director of the camp, attended the reunion as well. “As a clergyman of fifty-some years, I’ve always felt that you have no idea what the effect is that you’re having on the lives of people,” Griffiths said. “It’s only when you get some distance, and you meet up with somebody, that in turn you get to see was there any kind of change.”
Joe Rose and former campers and counselors visit the donkey sanctuary at the Trinity Retreat Center.
Throughout the weekend, the impact the camp had was clear. Some of the counselors had married each other and brought their grown children with them to the reunion. Many had gone on to high-profile careers in education.
“One of the things we’re trying to do here is make this a place of refuge, where it’s not only joy you find, but faith formation, a way to connect to God’s creation, a place to reimagine the church for the 21st century,” Rose said. “We don’t really see this as starting something new. We see this as continuing something that started over 100 years ago.”
The counseling staff of Trinity Parish Camp in the late 1980s. Many of those pictured attended the reunion.
The camp began in 1915 when the Rev. Edward Schlueter, vicar of St. Luke’s, then a chapel of Trinity Parish, purchased farmland in West Cornwall, Connecticut. Schlueter bought the land with the intent of providing a place for fresh air and recreation for his congregation, most of whom lived in crowded downtown tenements. Trinity Parish took over running the camp when Schlueter retired. Trinity Mountain Camp for girls in nearby Sharon, Connecticut, was added in 1961, and the two camps were combined in 1975. The camp closed in 1993, but continues today as a retreat center.
Trinity Parish Camp
The Trinity Retreat Center offers retreats for groups, families, and individuals. Learn more and consider booking your own getaway: https://www.trinitywallstreet.org/about/trinity-retreat-center.