Monday, August 04, 2003


All photos on this site are copyrighted (c) by Jim Doty, Jr., and should not be reproduced without written permission.

Sunday, August 03, 2003


SPEC photos albums are at ImageEvent.com/JimDoty. The photographer's website is here.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

FINAL SPEC REPORT - Friday/Saturday

Well Readers,

This will be the final issue of the SPEC News for 2003. All the ribbons have been won, all the medals have been awarded. The "Extravaganza (Footloose)" was a great show last night. And the dance was fun, and all too short for most who took our exit poll.

Today we all have our own delegation worship, one final whole camp closing activity, and then begins the vehicle packing and the trip home. Again for some a few minutes, or hours. For some most of the day. And for a few several days of driving to get home. The Denver part of the Rockies will be home around midnight. The Wyoming group takes a little longer. The Montana group will take two days and the folks from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada won't be home till at least Monday night.

Most of the youth polled say SPEC was awesome. Friendships were made or strengthened. Some romances have been started, some rekindled. But most of all many youth in the church have, for the first time, seen the church as much larger than their own congregation, or youth group. They have really seen the potential of a Community of Christ. And they go home with ideas and suggestions of how to "Reach 4 Peace" in themselves, their families, and their various communities. Some will return home and be just the same. Others will return home with a desire to change the world, to make a difference in the world, to walk the path of the disciple.

If even one youth was changed, if one heart was softened, if one person can begin their own spiritual journey, then SPEC will have been a success. If you have a chance talk with the youth of our church, listen to their questions, ask about their story, hear their hearts. You may be, like this reporter, hopeful and confident that the voices of just a few vibrant witnesses can change the world.

Until SPEC 2004 this reporter says, thanks for reading, enjoy the photos, visit with a teenager, and be a part of a community that is making the world a better place. May God bless and magnify all you do for the cause of the Kingdom.

That's a wrap!!

A fellow servant,


Seventy Bob, your SPEC reporter

Friday, August 01, 2003

Received Friday morning.

SPEC REPORT - Thursday

Hello Readers,

Hope you've had a chance to catch up on the latest pictures of SPEC. There are several folders of pictures. We hope this new feature of the SPEC News will add to your enjoyment of SPEC. Jim, along with being on the SPEC News staff, is also a brother in the Lord, a brother Seventy, and a brother-in-law, as we are married to identical twin sisters.

Thursday was another sleep-in day at SPEC. The youth got to sleep in ('till 8:15) after another late night. It was the first day of medal play. So the brackets are formed, the teams are as evenly matched as is possible, and all the games count toward winning a gold medal. As you would expect "you win some, you lose some." Many teams will be moving up to the playoffs, some teams will be playing for third place. And even in that the youth seem to be having a good time, playing hard, competing well, and taking it all in stride.

Thursday was the all camp talent show. Musicians, vocal and instrumental, a magician, dancers, all combined together to provide an entertaining and enjoyable evening. God has placed a myriad of gifts into His children. God is an awesome God. If these young people can find ways to use the gifts God has given them in service and building community - Zion would not be far off.

Thursday was also the Communion Worship service. It is interesting trying to serve communion to nearly a thousand people. It takes a lot of music, which was provided by a piano, a concert harp, a violin and a trumpet. It was nice, but long. It does make for burning the midnight (and beyond) oil for this reporter.

In quiet reflection, with soft snoring in the background, I can't help but smile at the potential for the future. These youth are strong, gifted, articulate, gentle, compassionate, full of energy and spirit, and open to the leadings of God and the shaping, molding hands of their creator, not yet done with the creation.

As you walk the path of the disciple, it's my prayer that you will search deep within to recognize the gifts God has placed in you. May you be able to name and articulate those gifts. May you be open to using those gifts in service to humanity. And may God, gift you with enough of the vision, that you will see and know how and where God would have you use your gifts. As we invest in community the dividends will be beyond measure or imagination.

Friday morning is the track and field events as well as swimming. The other sports will finish up Friday afternoon. And Friday evening is "The Extravaganza". Don't forget to check out the SPEC photos at imageevent.com/jimdoty. Click on any SPEC folder, then you can click on individual thumbnails to see a larger photo, or just pick "slideshow".

Thursday, July 31, 2003

received Thursday morning.

SPEC REPORT - Wednesday

Morning Readers,

It's another beautiful day here in Lamoni Iowa. The "Lifehouse" concert Tuesday nite was a huge success, and many exciting treasures can be seen around campus (guitar picks, broken drum sticks, etc.) and some treasures cannot be seen (first kiss). Romance is indeed in the air at SPEC. As the community builds closeness, many young people are finding love, some for the first time. Campers are holding hands, walking arm in arm, and stealing kisses, when they think no one is looking. It does make it harder to get the youth into the dorms on time at night, "parting is such sweet sorrow."

Wednesday is always a very special day at SPEC. It is the day the Community of Christ leadership officials visit the campus for the entire day. And the competitions and worship involve them all. The Community of Christ leadership, at a glance, consists of the President and his counselors, and next is Twelve individuals called Apostles, that have either local US areas of ministry, of global areas of ministry focus, or both. Under them is the Quorums of Seventy (missionary ministers) lead by the Senior President of Seventy. Many of those are here on campus Wednesday, including the President of the Community of Christ, Grant McMurray. These folks compete against the youth in volleyball, softball and quizbowl. This reporter covered the quizbowl, and the youth (All Stars) tied the World Church Leadership Council, in a tight contest of knowledge and re-call of history, geography, math, science, religion and philosophy questions. A good time was had by all.

After the usual day of highs (wins) and lows (losses and injuries) the evening activities begin. A Rockies tradition if to have an outside pizza party and Karaoke party for dinner. Wednesday nite was the nite. Thirteen pizzas from the local "Pizza Shack" and about 10 two liter bottles of soft drink (everyone has their favorite) and three packages of red "Twizzlers" make for fine dining quisine. Then comes out the microphones, CD's and out goes the shyness as many of the Rockies, and later others, showcase their musical abilities (?). There maynot be any recording contracts in the works, but we do have fun singing, dancing, and fellowshipping.

The Worship on Wednesday is at night instead of in the morning, and outside on the football field instead of inside in the hot stuffy gym. The Worship is spirited, Spirit filled, loud, and wonderful. One of the guest ministers this year has been Jim Valley. If that pricks some of your memories, he was the lead singer for "Paul Revere and the Raiders" (Doesn't that take you back?). He has been sharing in minstry of music each day and last night was as awesome as usual. President, Grant McMarray, and Graceland University President, John Menzies, shared in a dialogue at the Worship about what it will take to build a community of Peace and how these young people here are the generation that can make it happen. They challenged the young people to begin to take steps to answer the call to fulfill the commission of the Community of Christ Temple (in Independence.MO.) to pursure peace, reconciliation, and healing of the spirit.

At the end of the powerful Worship the sky errupted in a blaze of fireworks (a SPEC tradition). As usual it was as fine a fireworks show as this reporter has seen other places. In some ways it is more awesome to watch it with about a thousand ecsited, energetic, spirit filled youth. Red, green, white, and gold streaks of fire, and huge lighted mushrooms filled the sky as youth scrambled from the bleachers onto the field to get a better view. It was pretty amazing!!

The first of the track and field events happened were next, with long jump, high jump and shot and discus. Needless to say it was another late night for the whole campus. But a fun filled day and night with memories galore planted in our minds and hearts.

One other neat thing happened yesterday, The Daily SPEC News staff photogtapher, Jim Doty joined the campus. Jim is a name familiar to many with pictures in the Saints Herald, and many Community of Christ worship bulletin covers. Jim does wonderful work through the lens and so now, for the added pleasure of the SPEC News readers you can see photographs of this amazing activity. Just go to imageevent.com/jimdoty, click on the folders for SPEC, then you can click on individual thumbnails to see a larger photo, or just pick "slideshow".

It's a wonderful new feature for regular readers of the SPEC news and we're glad Jim is here to share with us! Welcome Jim!

In our evening devotions in the Rockies dorm, the young men were challenged through scripture and story, to look into their own lives at God's call to each one, and how each of them can begin, one small step at a time, to respond to that call. It seems that might be a good exercise for each of us to engage in. How do you hear God's call? To what mission is God calling you? And how will you respond to God's call to build community in those places you occupy.

Until tomorrow your SPEC reporter is signing off. May God grant you vision of what is possible!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2003


Photos from SPECTACULAR are here.
Received Wednesday morning.


Well it was another wonderfully cool morning here in Lamoni. Fog and mist covered the landscape giving the entire campus a sort of ethereal, ghostly feel. Almost spooky. In the fog there is very little color. And lines and borders are somewhat fuzzy, not clearly defined. Somewhat later the sun clears up the fog and the world is again filled with color and clear definitions.

Admittedly there are those times in my life, I let my vision get a little foggy. The world loses a lot of its "color"; and boundaries and guidelines are somewhat fuzzy. It may seem "cool" for a while, but soon I realize how easy it is to lose my way in the fog. My life is out of balance and there is little peace. And then, just like in the natural world, the "Son" comes and clears away the fog and my world is again colorful, and borders and guidelines are clear and sharp. And Peace is restored.

Prayer and communication with my God are essential for balance and peace.

Today at SPEC is a sort of light day for late afternoon sports. The campus is buzzing with excitement -- Tonight the evening activity is the live band and "Lifehouse". They have some #1 hits on the Billboard Charts. They are a cross-over band that does Christian and secular music. There will be dancing, singing, moshing - well let's just say that devotions and sleep will be hard won tonight.

Evening devotions are usually done in the dorm with each delegation doing their own. Tonight the male and female youth and staff from each delegation have a place on campus to have co-ed, joint devotions. It is a good way for the group to continue their movement toward community.

Tomorrow us a much anticipated "sleep-in" day. The morning activities all start one hour later and the youth (and staff) are treated to an extra hour of much needed sleep. Tomorrow also starts the real "medal play". The first few days we compete in the skill brackets we place ourselves in. So the purpose of pool play is to more fairly place us in the appropriate bracket for our comparative skill level based on our pool play standings. That way each team is more fairly able to compete for medals.

There is an interesting paradox here tonight. As the sun sets on the day - normally a peaceful part of the day - the windows are rattling and vibrating from the sounds of "Lifehouse". Not exactly peaceful.

So duty calls this reporter to cover the band and finish this column after the concert (or in the early morning darkness (since this reporter doesn't sleep in later on sleep-in day) So until then,

May the "Son" clear away the fog from your vision, and may the "light of the world" bring color and definition to your every decision. And may the true "lifehouse" bring you peace, here and forevermore.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Received Tuesday Morning


A-a-a-h-h-h-h!! The night air was alive with the sound of the cool refreshing rain that fell during the night. The concrete glistened early this morning, reflecting the pale purple sunrise. Lamoni was cool and refreshed. Grass, trees, flowers and even people seem more alive when drinking in the "water of life." And though the break from the heat was short lived, it was greatly appreciated.

In worship this morning, we listened to the scripture of Lydia (Acts 16:14,15). Lydia was a seller of royal purple cloth, worn only by royalty and special people. Lydia was a believer in the one God and became a convert to Christianity. It's been suggested that when Lydia was converted, she began to see people with the eyes of God and saw all people as special and worthy of wearing purple. One of the youth then added her own testimony of feeling special and worthy. Being a friend of the Community of Christ (those not yet baptized), she was invited to SPEC last year by a friend. She came and had a wonderful experience. Not long after returning home she was kicked out of her home by her family. She was filled with thoughts of unworthiness and rejection. Remembering her experience at SPEC, and the feelings of acceptance and love she felt, kept her from doing something terribly wrong. She got a job, a place to live, and began her senior year. She saved enough from her job to come to SPEC again this year. She knows she has great worth in the eyes of God and her friends at SPEC.

As the competitions continue, and games are won or lost, often by one play, basket, or goal, the staff at SPEC also work at making everyone on their teams see themselves as worthy of wearing purple. There are no losers at SPEC. Good players help those not so good. Teams loan each other equipment. All laugh at the funny things that happen. All feel the sense of loss when a player goes down and can't continue. Anyone who comes, and invests themselves, goes away from here a winner. Winning friends, (often for a lifetime), mentors, teachers, and occasionally life companions. Often the teams and spectators will cheer and applaud the opposing team nearly as excitedly as their own.

And sports is only one winning activity at SPEC. Youth are invited to share in a plethora of class options. Classes are as varied as the sports. And many of the classes are geared toward the same end of helping people learn life skills that will add to their own self worth and open their eyes to the worth of others. Classes help youth develop their musical, artistic, or leadership skills. Classes help youth communicate more effectively. Classes help youth interact in ways that model mutual respect, and equal regard.

On Saturday eight hundred to a thousand individuals show up on the Graceland Campus. Even by today it is evident that those individuals are begining to form community. It's very rewarding to see the youth and staff creating a community of Joy, Hope, Love and Peace. Today the Rockies delegation received a special recognition - a watering can. It might look like an ordinary watering can to the untrained eye, but to SPEC it is a prize, given to honor a special action by a person, team, or delegation. Yesterday, as many youth were lining up to try out for the Extravaganza (a musical presented by the youth to the entire camp on Thursday), the Rockies youth kept letting other youth, who had games to make it to, go ahead of them for try-outs. The Rockies youth ended up waiting two and a half hours to try out. The watering can recognized the Rockies generosity and selflessness.

As we look at the communities we each operate in, work, school, neighborhood, family, and others, it's this reporter's hope that we also might recognize the worth of all persons. And that we can begin to knit together the various communities we impact with the love of God and the Joy of a community "Reaching 4 Peace."

Until tomorrow then, May the God of Peace, grant you Peace for the journey.

Monday, July 28, 2003

From Seventy Bob, received Monday morning.


Every spectacular day starts with worship. Here at SPEC, it's no exception. We wake the campers up between 5:30 and 7:30 depending on their preference. Breakfast is available for those so inclined, and then, all approximately one thousand of us move into the gym for worship. Music, singing, drama, dance, scripture, all open the door for us, into God's presence. Youth comprise most of those who lead us in worship. The gifts God has placed in our young people is awesome. Watching our youth sense and respond to God's presence in their lives brings an incredible peace and hope to this SPEC reporter.

Today we looked at "Peace Within Ourselves". Many, if not most of us, come from families and communities where peace is not always modeled well. How do we find Peace in ourselves, when inside ourselves is often filled with utter chaos and turmoil? Divorce, abuse, anger, control, greed, lust are just a few of those waves that crash into the small vessel we try to steer through life. I'm reminded of several friends who were in a small boat when the waves on the lake were about to capsize the boat. When summoned, Jesus calmed the storm and the waves subsided. A favorite song of mine addresses this same situation. The song writer uses these words. "Just because He can settle any storm doesn't mean He will. When the wind and waves go wild, sometimes He calms the storm, other times he calms His child." May you find Peace as God calms the storms of life, or calms you to face the storms unafraid, because you know the One who can do either.

After worship we all attend a morning filled with many class options. Relationships, cooking, sex, carving, painting, quilting, marriage prep, meditation, balloon ministry, creating life's path, photography are just a few of the options to fill ones morning. Most of the youth are excited as they move from one to another to pick up those "life's lessons" that help them transition from adolescence to adulthood.

And then begins the hectic, full throttle, no time to catch your breath, sports competitions. "I didn't want to play that!", "I don't want to be on their team", "I'm not that good!, (or) I'm better that that" are some of the assaults on the ears of the poor sports person from each delegation. Trying to get about eight hundred youth situated on teams of similar skill and aptitude for a somewhat fair contest is no small feat. And yet by the end of the first day, with very few exceptions, most youth are at least resigned if not excited about their teams, and their chances for the illusive "gold medal". And even in the midst of these competitions, Peace can be seen in the willingness of many, to make allowance for those of less skill, less experience, and less ability. And that's just among the staff !!

The evenings, early in the experience, at least, begin to quiet down with dinner and the evening activity. Tonight the movie "Signs" will be shown on a large screen, outside the dining facility. Instead of the old "drive in" many of you are old enough to remember, this is more like a "sit in", (different than the sit-ins most of you remember.)

Evening devotions in the dorm and a good nights rest (read short) and tomorrow dawns a new day "Reaching for Peace". If the predicted cooler weather arrives it will help in our quest for Peace.

May you have the insight to discern whether God is quieting your storm, or quieting His child. And until tommorrow - Just give peace a chance.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

From Seventy Bob who is from Colorado. Received Sunday morning.

SPEC REPORT - Saturday Night

It's your SPEC reporter back on the job, sharing the story and spirit of Spectacular, at Graceland University, Lamoni Iowa.

Every year the small town of Lamoni comes alive with the sounds, sights, excitement and energy of approximately one thousand Sr. Hi students and adult staff.

Many are first time attenders, some are seasoned veterans. This reporter is attending his thirteenth SPEC. Some travel a few minutes or a couple hours. Some travel three full days to get here. Some travel in cars, some in busses, some fly. Staff often take a week from work, many a week from family, even the campers give up a week of their summer to attend. The levels of sacrifice are as varied as the people.

Many attend because of past experiences, many solely on the testimony of others. Jesus might say blessed are you because you have seen and come again, but more blessed will those be who have never seen, but come because of your testimony.

Cali-zonia, Midlands, Oklahoma, ECS, SCSC, Michigan, and Rockies are just a few of the names of the delegations that attend. Every delegation designs a t-shirt with a logo following the yearly theme. This year at SPEC we're "Reaching 4 Peace". Each day we will take a look at those places we need to reach for Peace.

As you read the news and updates from SPEC please remember all the campers, delegation staff and SPEC staff as we try to model and lead youth in a quest for peaceful communities.

So until tomorrow, your SPEC reporter is listening to "LIGHTS OUT!!" yelled from the ground at our still lighted window. May you sleep in peace, resting on the promise and hope of the "Prince of Peace".

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?