Camping was awarded to boys who sang in the choir. For many years St. Paul’s choir consisted of boys and camps were well attended. But in the late 1970’s the number of young men and boys dwindled. With changes in the choir, it was inevitable for the first time in 50 years in 1979 St. Paul’s did not have a boys camp. However, there were plenty of girls and a camp session was arranged for them. As the number of campers started to get smaller, coed camps became popular.
Camp Lawton offered children opportunities to learn crafts, play sports, swim, use small sailboats and other boats and make lasting friends. We also had campers who came from outside Minnesota. The Camp Director researched outside adventures such as visiting the local zoo, rock climbing, hiking, etc. Family camping became popular. Many planned their vacations at Camp Lawton. Those who owned campers brought them and stayed in them rather than tents. Groups who used camp were St. Nicholas, St. John’s, Richfield, Epiphany, New Hope, St. Luke’s. St. Martin’s By The Lake were big supporters of the camp for over 20 years. They held fund raising dinners and other events to help camp. They also volunteered in the opening and closing of camp. As word spread more outside groups became familiar with the camp.
For children’s camps the paid staff included a Camp Director, Cook, Waterfront certified Life Guard. Volunteer counselors were picked to oversee the campers. Scholarships were given to the choir. Neighborhood Involvement Program were big supporters of camp in helping to find children who need financial aid to go to camp.
Volunteers appear in the early spring, usually after the water can be turned on, to start cleanup for camp. Buildings have to be completely scrubbed, windows washed, dishes washed, etc. The grounds are cleaned, meadow cut, tent row and other areas raked and tents hung. This includes fixing broken windows, broken platform boards, checking tents for rips or needing to be replaced. Occasionally, there are things that require professional help. In the fall boats are put away, tents are hung in Pyke Hall. Beds, mattresses, game equipment is put away. Buildings are secured and the water is turned off for the winter. All this work is done by volunteers.
Camp Lawton was closed during the winter. Research was done to make the camp an all weather facility to be used for conferences and seminars, skiing and snowshoeing. The idea never materialized mostly due to finances. Because Camp Lawton was self supporting, fund raising dinners, sales and other events were held. Each year an all parish picnic was held at the camp, always well attended.
But competition from camps who offered more extensive and costly activities caused attendance to drop. As well as updating and repairs needed. Income did not cover costs. Meetings were held, much discussion for and against, but a parish meeting determined that the camp would be sold. The camp was sold in 2006. It was a wonderful outreach for the parish and is missed by many.

written & submitted by Rose Nightingale
Do you have memories of Camp Lawton? Please share them in the comments section!

Letter from Your Wardens (click to view)


August 29, 2019
Dear Saint Paul’s Parish Family,

We are sorry to share so early in our journey with Father Marcus that he has submitted his resignation and will be leaving us October 6, 2019. He has accepted a position at the Diocese of Connecticut. In his new position, he will be the Dean of Formation and will also be working as a Missional Priest-in-Charge of a faith community. This is a wonderful opportunity for him allowing him to continue to strengthen his gifts. The Diocese of Connecticut will benefit as we have from Father Marcus’s passion. Although it is hard to see him go, we have learned and done wonderful things as a parish with his leadership and guidance over the past 2-1/2 years. It will be exciting to watch his continued growth from afar knowing we were blessed to have been part of his early career. Father Marcus’s letter to the parish is included in this email.

So now we begin to look forward. Beth and I will be in contact with ECMN and Bishop Prior to plan for an interim priest and to look at putting together a search committee. We will gather together and consider what we have learned about ourselves during our time with Father Marcus. This is a chance for us to evaluate where we are and to make plans for moving forward: what we want to be sure to carry forward, what things we might want back that have changed, and yes, what might not have been tackled yet that we want to explore? We ask that each of you give prayerful consideration to these questions. They will be foundational to our Rector search.

We know the amazing strength of this parish and are confident we will become even stronger from the challenge that has been put in front of us. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Meredith Johnson, Senior Warden ( Beth Carlson, Junior Warden (

Dear Saint Paul’s,

It is with a mix of sadness and joy that I inform you that I offered my resignation to the Vestry on Monday, August 19. My last day as your priest will be Sunday, October 6, 2019. I have accepted a call to serve as the Dean of Formation for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, a position that will also include serving as a Missional Priest-in- Charge of a faith community there.

Throughout my time as your Rector, I’ve tried to preach, teach, and exemplify a consistent message: each of us is called to grow in Christian maturity to meet the challenges and opportunities of being the Church in this new missional age. Our patron, Saint Paul the Apostle, calls this the “full stature of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). This means taking seriously our individual and collective calls to be leaders, not only within the walls of our parish but also in the wider community. Leading, especially in times of great change, means taking risks, being open to failure that leads to learning, collaborating with others, and standing firmly in our identity and purpose.

People across Saint Paul’s Church have heard this message, stepped up, and stepped forward. Together, we have faced down a major challenge head-on –tackling our budget deficit– and as a result are experiencing a renewal of energy and spirit. We have new ministries popping up all around, a greater capacity for innovation, and deeper commitment to Christ and the mission of God he invites us into. There are others who are still afraid to step forward or unsure where they fit, and that’s okay. Saint Paul’s moves forward together.

My new role will give me the opportunity to help form other ordained leaders in what we’ve done together: translating an age-old faith to a contemporary context. I am excited and honored to be asked by Bishop Ian Douglas to serve the Church in this role.

None of this takes away the anxiety, sadness, or grief that many will feel at this time. Transitions are always hard, especially when it comes when things are going well. I have not served as your Rector for long, but we’ve done a lot together. I will pray for you as you discern what leadership model God might be inviting you to try and who might best step into that role to walk alongside you as you continue engaging God’s mission. Your wardens are two of the most capable people I’ve ever met and together with your vestry and the entire community, as it has for the last 139 years, your journey continues.

There will be time to say goodbye, and I will continue to serve faithfully until my final day. In the meantime, the mission of God calls us onward. There are individuals and communities in need of the Gospel – and it is our job as followers of Jesus Christ to proclaim it, in word and example.

Faithfully, Marcus+


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