Winni Stories

My Week at Lutheran Winni Week 2013

It was with sadness that the Winni Week family learned of Jerry's passing in the spring of 2014. He had been asking if he could come back again. This was his story.

By Jerry Irwin

I have learned during the last 9 years of being a FLC member that when Pastor Dutzmann calls me and he starts the conversation by saying something like “I was thinking about”, or, “I have an idea”, or, “You know, Jerry, this is a good thing”, that I usually just say, “Yes”, even before he finishes the first sentence – knowing that the blessings will come to me many times over no matter what he asks of me. Pastor did not fall short when he asked me to go on our annual pilgrimage to Camp Winni several weeks ago.

I must admit that every Spring when the announcements start at Sunday Worship promoting the Camp Winnie trip, that I automatically had thought that Camp Winni is really geared to families, so I never seriously considered this annual sojourn. Boy, how wrong I was! There were families and singles alike, about 90 folks in all, and I bet I met almost everyone there. FLC – Boston had a fair showing. I must admit that I hoped more people had attended from our home Church.

On the other hand, I met so many wonderful people from other Churches in the New England District. Like Trudy, she headed up the Knitting Group that met every day on the porch at The Inn at 5:00 p.m.. She “Twisted my Arm”, I mean, she encouraged me, to participate in the group. I escaped several times but the last few days I joined in a bit more sincerely. She taught me how to knit a stich, I knitted 8 stiches on my own and a couple binders (corners) on a coaster she started for me – her love, caring, and encouragement made it very clear that God and the Holy Spirit are present in all that we do.

I had been keeping a daily journal, I hand wrote about 7 pages in the first few days, mostly reflections on my earlier life experiences and on the fourth night, as I sat down to write my mind drew a total blank except for the following;

God’s Love- Love Always, God, – God Loves me Without Conditions, God Loves All of Us – and, what I now believe, more than a week since I have been back in the “Real World” to be my huge spiritual breakthrough – I LOVE GOD!

My mind went blank, I could not write anything else…

Overall, everyone from FLC – Boston played an instrumental role in my experience. Ron Eisner, who told me that my spiritual growth and understanding would grow by “Leaps and Bounds” did not fall short on that promise. Ron was always in the lake. He loves Lake Winni’s clear, clean water and so did I. Spending time swimming in the lake really helped provide relief to my sore and aching muscles from my medical condition and because of my experience in the lake, I am joining the YMCA here in my town and going to swim every day. Praise Lord Jesus that comfort comes at the most unexpected times in the most unexpected ways. Andrew Walker, my wonderful roommate, in some Christian related issues I was confused about, clarified and provided deeper and more specific meanings that gave me better understanding. Charlie and Rosie Goumas, my Baptismal Sponsors, were a joy to be with and Rosie’s piano playing sure lifted us all up. It was really nice to have Mary Reuning come up for a couple of days and we got to spend some quality time together. Joannie Forrester was out and about all the time, it was a real blessing for me to see her so engaged and present at Worship, Bible Studies, the Cafeteria, and lounging on the rocking Adirondack chairs on the porch – familiar faces – lots of love! I hope that more folks from FLC – Boston can go next year. I am certain we can all continue to grow together as another way to share in our Christian Family and Fellowship. The date is already set, July 5 – 12, 2014.

“Hats Off!” to Bethany Kranz for her massive volunteer work, being the Den Mother to all the young girls and being in charge of the Talent Show. I was more than moved (my way of describing tears of joy) when Bethany and 8 year old Amelia Beaulieu, daughter of Heidi and Tim the “Rocket – Man”, and Trudy’s granddaughter, performed a synchronized dance duet together. This dance piece required a lot of timing skills and non-verbal communication between the two of them and the “High Fives” during the routine were expressive and really cool.

Our Camp Director, Pastor Dutzmann (who else could be better suited for that job!) and President Yeadon led incredible worships and lively and engaging Bibles Studies and they were active and available all the time. The Memorial Service for folks that have passed on during the last year, was moving, deep and penetrating – for me, it felt like God sent his Holy Angels down to be with us during this worship.

The food was good, the kitchen staff and cafeteria servers were great, I ate way too much, and I would be more than happy to see some lighter fare as well as all the comfort food we had.

The camp is rustic, definitely not the lap of luxury, the Inn is quite simple, and the Cabins (better suited for families) are actually quite decent and seem perfectly comfortable. I know I will be going back to Camp Winni next year.

Peace and Love to all of you that have helped me grow as a Christian.

Jerry Irwin