The Fellowship of Quilting

Twice a year Pyoca hosts a devoted group of local quilters under the energetic direction of Peggy Burns for the Annual Mystery Quilt Retreat in the spring and the Unfinished Project (U.F.O.) Retreat in the fall. This past weekend was the 15th Annual Mystery Quilt Retreat, as well as the celebration of Peggy’s 20 years of service at Pyoca. The basement of the lodge was bustling with over forty quilters, ranging from novice sewers to experienced professionals.

One may imagine that quilting is generally a solitary activity, but I have come to find that it is actually quite communal. Quilts are meant to encompass a great deal of memory and legacy, because a quilt is meant to be passed down from one generation to the next. In my own family quilts have been passed down from my great-grandmother, to my grandmother, to my mother and aunt, and eventually to my generation. My grandmother has carried on the tradition of her mother by making quilts for me, my sister, and my cousins.

These gifts are precious. Many quilts take hundreds of hours to complete. They are stitched with love. Seams are ripped out and fixed. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pieces of fabric are cut, sewn, ironed, and stitched together one after the other.

It is no wonder, then, that during the “Show and Tell” portion of the Mystery Quilt Retreat, there was a great deal of pride and emotion shown by every woman presenting her work. There were even multiple generations of the same family sewing side by side, sharing the legacy of their family.

Many women shared the history behind the quilts they were currently working on, in addition to the mystery quilt they had been assigned. We learned about friends and family members who would receive these works of art that were still in progress. We learned of the loss and grieving that can be associated with making, giving, and receiving something handmade. Everyone grew closer by sharing the stories of those close to us.

Quilts are a sign of communal healing. They can be full of the shirts of a loved one. They can be filled with camp shirts from the last twenty years. They can be completely new, or they can be made of leftover scraps of fabric. They are even full of theology: Remembrance. Tradition. Resurrection.

Quilting is not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of time and devotion to complete just one. From an outsider’s perspective I was able to see how sacred the act of quilting can be, and what a joy for our ministry at Pyoca to be able to facilitate such a sacred space. There is no doubt that the fellowship of these quilters will with continue to flourish beyond this weekend.


Mystery Quilt model made by Peggy Burns.

The Fellowship of Quilting

All Are Welcome

Many people may not know that in the past year Pyoca officially adopted a new mission statement: “Where all are welcome in God’s love to EXPLORE, GROW, REST, and PLAY.”

The process started in the fall of 2015 as members of Pyoca’s Advisory Council, and various alumni, gathered for a strategic planning process at camp. Over the course of 2016 the new mission statement was fine-tuned by the Advisory Council, and officially adopted in early 2017.

This new mission statement embodies how we hope to grow as an organization. Pyoca is continually seeking to further its partnerships and work with people from all backgrounds and experiences. Particularly in such a divided world, we hope to be a shared space where people feel at peace gathering in their differences.

We are committed to exploring God’s creation with others and sharing all of the wonders it has to offer. That means learning about and protecting the environment around us, as well as the people around us, for they too are created beings.

We seek to empower others to grow in their faith, as well as gain confidence in the skills and spiritual gifts bestowed upon them by God.

We are committed to rest: the sabbath that God intends for all to experience. In such a busy world, so many people do not take the time to care for themselves as a spiritual practice. At Pyoca we hope you will take the time to slow down, be still, and know God.

Finally, we know the importance of play! As children of God we are free to let our inner kid shine. Play is also an integral part of rest. We hope that all who come to Pyoca will feel free to let loose, be silly, and challenge themselves.

We are excited to grow as an organization and as a community. We hope you’ll join us as we look toward the future of our ministry.


All Are Welcome

New Blog, New Program Director

Hello, everyone! We’re getting the Pyoca blog up and running, and just in time to introduce me, Molly, the new Program Director at Pyoca. Some of you may remember me, as I was the seminary intern at camp from 2015-2017. I graduated from Ball State University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public History and I’m getting ready to finish my Master of Divinity degree at Christian Theological Seminary in May.

I served as a Young Adult Volunteer with PC(USA) World Mission in South Korea (2013-14) and at Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center outside of Little Rock, AR (2014-15). I grew up going to camp at Geneva Center outside of Rochester, Indiana, and I have always had a passion for camp, the outdoors, and sharing the love of God with everyone around me. I’m thrilled to be able to do what I love, what I believe God has called me to do, as a full time job.

I’ll be keeping you all posted on what’s going on at Pyoca year round. Right now we’re getting in full swing preparing for summer camp, so be sure to get registered soon! Weeks One and Two always fill up fast, but don’t forget Week Three because we’ll be having our annual Fourth of July celebration at camp. You don’t want to miss our Acting Executive Director Mike Davis’ fireworks show. It’s the stuff of legends.

We’re also planning ahead for our annual Fall Youth Conference Oct. 5th-7th, open this year to 7th-12th graders. Be on the lookout soon for our 2019 Program Calendar with some exciting new additions to our spring programs!

I am thrilled to be serving our camp community and the church in this new role. I can’t wait to see what God will be doing at Pyoca in the near future.

Register for summer camp at:

New Blog, New Program Director