A Note from Chaplain Bob Linaberry-Charis


I’m a campfire kind of guy … always have been.

Give me a tent to spend the night in with friends, scouts, family … and there would be a campfire … and I would be hanging out.

Give me evening vespers at Pine Lake Camp in the days of my youth … and the formation of my faith … and there would be a campfire.

Give me a camper … backed up against a lake with reflections of moon and stars and northern lights … with the sound of loon calling into the evening … and there would be a campfire.

Give me an RV pulled into a park in the mountains or in the desert or at the Oceanside … the moon playing hide and seek with the clouds … and there would be a campfire.

Give me a nice evening in Amherst Junction … with time on my retired hands … lousy TV programming or non-stop political BS … and there will be a campfire.

I love campfires … I become almost intoxicated by watching the flames dance around … whipped brighter by the slightest of breeze flowing through the spaces between the embers.
That was my experience the other night … my fire had a strong start and had worked its way to the bright red glow of embers. I was mesmerized as usual by the pulsing glow, fanned brighter and seemingly moving within itself by a gentle breeze, then bursting into flames again by a sudden gust of wind.

The image came to me – this is like God, and my faith, and the Church. Many people and many experiences “lit a fire” of God and belief and faith in me over the years. Belonging to the Community of Faith/Believers, loving and caring for others, serving people of faith in the church, in the Air Force, in the hospice world … all these happenings have continued to fan the flames of God within me and my faith … and I continue to be warmed.

Like the burning bush or fire in the mountain speaking to Moses … like the Pillar of Fire to guide the Hebrews in the dark desert … like the tongues of fire to the first disciples of Christ in the coming of the Holy Spirit … this campfire was reminding me of my God and my faith and my call and my joy … and once again, a campfire succeeded.

“It only takes a spark to get a fire glowing, and soon all those around, can warm up in its glowing. That’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it. You spread his love to everyone, you want to pass it on.”

Happy fire-building … see you in the glow!

Chaplain Bob Linaberry-Charis