Sandra Scott should soon see results from her labors over the past year, as preparations for the “It’s Time for Abundant Living” health revival reach their conclusion. She’s arranged for more than a dozen speakers in all, with presentations from nutritionists, trainers and ministers for people in need of renewal, or just curious about what the Bible advises regarding spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing.
Everyone’s set to gather at the Bethany Beach Christian Camp & Conference Center from Sept. 26-29. The center is located north of Garfield Parkway, between Route 1 and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Sandra and her husband, Rev. Sir Walter (named for the famous novelist and poet, but most folks just call him Walter) founded Retreat to His Presence Ministries in 2002. Walter was still an army chaplain at that time, and the Scotts organized periodic conferences outside the chapel to help military personnel with their unique workplace pressures — stress and burnout, especially.
However, Sandra said they’d experienced mixed results in hotel-style conference centers. It just didn’t have the retreat feel — but when they had an opportunity to take over operations at the camp, it looked like it might be a perfect fit with their own ministry.
They moved to Bethany last year — in his role as pastor, Walter attended the Bethany Beach Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) congregation, and together, they’ve seen the camp through its first season under the guidance of the Scott family.
But something else happened in 2004, which caused Sandra to shift the Retreat to His Presence Ministries focus toward overall health — according to Walter, he’d experienced an “issue” with his heart.
Walter noted changes they’d made since then (switching to olive oil, even in old-fashioned cornbread, for instance). “This could be a wake-up call, before things get really scary, to the point of death,” he said. “Maybe help people make some changes before they have to have a wake-up call like that.”
“How I grew up eating vegetables, they had all the green cooked right out of them,” Sandra admitted. “We always cooked for flavor, not nutrition.” Folks might be able to get away with that for a while, the Scotts added, but after 30 or 40 or 50 years, those cooking practices were liable to get a person into trouble.
Sandra said that had been the motivator. They’d scheduled the health revival to coincide with the date she’d received an epiphany that health could be a rallying point to which people of all persuasions and backgrounds could gather for “God’s perspective on health and wellbeing,” she said.
As the Scotts emphasized, the health revival would be nondenominational, and they expected guest speaker Dr. Jacob Aaronson (osteopath) would add a Jewish perspective. Aaronson is slated for a discussion titled, “How the Old Testament Provides the Basis for a Holistic Lifestyle.”
Sandra noted another scheduled presenters, Pamela Travis, who owns a health store, and the accompanying Biblical perspective — “Life began in the Garden of Eden, and we have to get back to the garden,” she parsed.
“Which relates perfectly to ‘it’s time for abundant living,’” she continued. “And that’s what we want people to do — and it’s God’s intent, because He knows what’s best for us, which is the same as saying what’s healthiest for us.
But while the Scotts will host nutritionists, a weight loss coach, an image consultant and a personal trainer, there’s more to health than just physical wellbeing. Other speakers include Roger Hunt, with “Do I Want to Add Years to My Life or Life to My Years,” Joanne Kullman and Mary Ann Stephenson with “Spiritual Roots of Disease” and Carolyn Francis with “Ministering to the Inner You.”
“We have to get away from the hectic schedules of life sometimes — slow that train down, because everybody is living at breakneck speeds,” Sandra concluded.
For the past year, she’s been preparing an opportunity for people to do just that. “It’s Time for Abundant Living” will open on Monday, Sept. 26, with an evening service, and continues through Thursday, Sept. 29, with a sunrise service on the beach before closing.
According to the Scotts, all are welcomed to attend for all three days ($75), or just Tuesday or Wednesday ($35), and there are lodging and meals packages available as well. For more information, call 539-7034 or 537-2664.