Arlen Christenson was one of the first people to tour what is now the Bethel Horizons property. Along with his wife, Judy, they have been committed to the mission of Bethel Horizons from the beginning.
Judy recalls some of those early days when there were questions and doubts about Horizons becoming a camp. “There were some who wanted a very traditional bible camp with a bible under every pillow,” she shared. “From the beginning, Horizons was not traditional. That wasn’t what it was about. That was the charm of it. It was about being in a safe place and making that connection between faith and being outdoors in God’s creation. Horizons has always been about bringing multicultural people of all faiths together.”
“Whenever I think of Horizons in the beginning,” said Arlen, “I can’t think about it without thinking of Duane. Duane’s expression of faith was so simple and straightforward that it was directly connected to creation. One of the fundamentals of Horizons is that it is this natural place that provides opportunities for campers and the rest of us to experience. It reminds us that we are a part of and came from natural creation. The stream, the woods, the grasslands are all a part of us, and we are a part of it.”
“Horizons brought out the strongest part of our faith,” said Judy. “It was an example of what our faith was all about. Horizons really is God in action.”
We are so thankful for that “nontraditional” way of thinking from our founders and all those who support Bethel Horizons. Horizons continues to bring people of all faiths and backgrounds together to connect to our natural world. It is a space where everyone is accepted and welcomed for who they are. Created in love.