Tucked into the forest, near a lake an hour’s drive from Montreal, lies Camp Peniel, a retreat centre and camp founded by the Mennonite Brethren church in Quebec (AEFMQ) in 1974. In February, Camp Peniel appointed a new board and engaged a young couple, Jason and Esther Levesque as full-time, live-in directors.
Former director Richard Gervais stewarded the camp for the past 15 years, investing in upgrades and accreditation to receive provincial recreation funding.
However, the camp has faced difficulties over its almost four decade history. In recent years, the handful of churches in the small Quebec conference has grown distant from the camp, says Intersection Terrebonne pastor and long-time board member David Miller. The possibility of closing the camp was raised at the 2011 AEFMQ convention.
New directors and Intersection members Jason and Esther have studied at Word of Life Bible Institute, Sherbrooke, Que., and have served in various capacities at Christian camps throughout Quebec. Trained in carpentry and interior design, respectively, they are excited to develop the camp as a place for people to “meet God as they participate in informal and organized activities, whether camp, conferences, or retreats.” The Levesques will operate as live-in directors starting in summer.
“I’ve been involved over 15 years and I’ve never seen this much youth and potential to move things forward,” says Montreal pastor David Miller. “We would also be excited for a sense of relationship with churches and camps in Western Canada.”
“We hope the camp will be a site where God’s love is felt and experienced,” Jason and Esther write in an email, “and where the youth of Quebec can know his love and hear the gospel.”