April 1, 2020

This is Gilmont – Clay’s Poem

In a lot of ways Rev. Clay Brantley is a big kid. In other ways, he is a wise old man.  So, it might be best to describe him as a Gilmont Camper!  He’s led Spiritual Practices retreats for adults, served as a Bible Study leader at Summer Camp, participated in a variety of retreats and now serves on our Board of Directors.  In the midst of the uncertain world we find ourselves in today, we hold to real stuff; that which is comforting, that which is reassuring, that which is hopeful.  In that spirit, Rev. Clay Brantley wrote a poem in celebration of Gilmont’s 80th Birthday. Although we are not able to gather at Gilmont today, this place holds blessings of yesterday and hope for tomorrow.



Gilmont Thoughts

I sense in me and in others a deep yearning

to connect and experience and know God,

the one who creates us, calls us

and gives our lives meaning.

In this yearning is the desire

To have extended moments,

A time for listening and being and learning with Christ

That is outside of our normal routine.

This is Gilmont

I sense in me and in others a desire

To connect and know others

In ways I cannot through emails and meetings and lunches.

I want to be known and to know others

Deeper than just their names or the work they do or where they live.

I want to encounter their soul and they encounter mine.

This is Gilmont

I sense in me and in others a profound wanting

To connect with myself.

To be willing to be present with me

Beyond the distractions of everyday life.

To bring together all the scatter pieces of me

That run in many directions.

I want some way to see me, know me.

Truly love me and be loved by me.

Where can I connect with me in this profound way?

This is Gilmont.

I sense in me and in others a hunger

To connect with nature

To connect with creation, with the Earth from which we come.

So many times, my connections

With God

With others

With myself

Have happened in the midst of nature.

There is something inviting, freeing, life-giving

When I spend an extended period of time,

Hours and days

Among the trees and flowers, birds and sky, lakes and trails.

This is Gilmont

We are in a time of disconnection

From God, from one another, from self, from nature.

More and more of us believe there is no God, no deep connections,

No life-giving gifts from nature we need to receive.

Gilmont is more than a conference center

A place to which retreat.

It is a critical piece to the survival of our species

To the sanity of our race

To the yearnings of our soul

To the connections with Life Itself.

Gilmont offers us the space to connect,

To live

To love

To be

That we do not find in our normal walks of life.

This we must shout from the hills and lakes and trees of Gilmont

Come and connect.