For six decades, Camp Sumatanga has played an important role in the lives of many North Alabama United Methodists. A new 200 page, full-color, hardback memoir called Rest and Vision features images and memories of the first 60 years of Sumatanga.
Within the pages of this new 9 inches x 12 inches coffee-table style book are 1,000 images and 20 specially authored “reflections” which set the stage for the images in the various chapters and sections. In addition, each book comes with a bonus disc that includes another 360 photos.
Named after the Himalayan word meaning “a place of place of rest and vision,” Sumatanga held it’s first youth conference in 1951. Throughout the years it has provided a place of spiritual growth and fellowship for thousands of people of all ages.
The project to publish “Rest and Vision” began in the fall of 2011 when Rev. Mark “Bruno” Hughes, who serves as Volunteer Coordinator at Sumatanga, was allowed access to the camp’s historical documents and photos. It was a collection that had been gathered by camp staff throughout the years and kept in storage.
Hughes says, “What I found in those boxes and cabinets was nothing less than a treasure trove of material.”
After displaying some of the pictures around the camp, Hughes saw how much others enjoyed them. He then realized there must be more photographs that have been made throughout the years at Sumatanga. So he began connecting with others and the idea for the book was born.
As the project developed, a core of seven people made up the Editorial Team. They included Hughes, Laura Sisson, Anne Cain, Rev. Steve West, Kelley Clegg Neal, Melinda Adkins and Jenny Hughes.
In the Preface to the book, Hughes shares that the largest single contributor of pictures was Joe Green. He notes, “Joe was a fixture on the Board of Trustees and at camp events for roughly 50 years and he was never without his camera…”
Other major sources of photographs included Louise Woodall, who serves on the North Alabama Conference Commission on Archives and History and volunteers in the archives; the North Alabama Conference Council on Youth Ministry; the North Alabama Conference United Methodist Women; the Academy of Spiritual Formation, and the Music and Arts Week organization. Additionally, individuals also provided some of their personal snapshots. They included Nina Reeves, Anne Horton, Betty Gunn, Ben Killen, George and Peggy Scott, Winston Baccus and (thanks to her friends) the late Gwen Adams.
Hughes adds that David Hutto Jr., whose father David Hutto served as the first director of Sumatanga, provided many early photographs of the camp as well as important information. The 2001 book Our Sumatanga written by Hutto and Warren Hamby Jr. served as a source to the editorial team for names, dates, and other facts.
Other individuals also contributed to the project by writing reflections and sharing stories and insights from their times at Camp Sumatanga.
From the beginning, the plan was that all proceeds from the book would go to the ministry of Sumatanga. So organizers began to seek a way to have the book published without any expense to the camp. In order for this to happen, a group of 33 individuals formed and invested in the corporation to fund the publishing cost. Thus, 100% of the funds received from the sale of the book will go to Sumatanga.
The publisher for the book is Keen Communications / Menasha Ridge Press located in Birmingham.
The books are available now and can be ordered online at www.sumatanga.org/camp-merchandise.html. The cost of the book is $40 if picked up at camp or $48 if shipped.