The Camp Hanover Psalter

We are inviting the Camp Hanover community to participate in the creation of a special Psalter in these days of living through a pandemic. A Psalter is simply a book containing the Psalms.

We are not able to be together in person yet, but we are still connected by our love of God, the words of scripture, and our participation in the body of Christ. We are inviting everyone with any connection to Camp Hanover to participate: – alumni, campers, staff, volunteers, past and present board members, retreat leaders and goers, occasional guests — anyone who has ever visited or loved this place apart — to consider hand-writing a psalm to become part of the Camp Hanover Psalter.

For over three thousand years, people in times of trouble have turned to the psalms for comfort and reassurance. Psalms encompass a wide variety of human emotions, from anger to awe, worry to wonder, and pain to praise. In the psalms we find many evocative images for God, reminding us that words can capture an understanding of God, but will never fully express the fullness of God. The psalms can move from earthy descriptions of creation to the sweeping majesties of the heavens. They were written at various times, reflecting all of life’s ups and downs.

Hebrew Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann says that psalms lead us through our orientation to God with wonder, our dis-orientation to God through troubles, and then to our re-orientation to God’s goodness. Jesus knew and loved the psalms, and he turned to them in his times of distress. Presbyterians have a particular love of the Psalms. Throughout the Reformation, many congregations did not permit congregational singing, unless it was the from the book of Psalms. Today most Presbyterian churches read or recite a psalm each week as part of their worship. Many of our most deeply loved hymns and songs are based on words from the psalms. At camp, every day we sing words from the psalms with our campers.

What We Envision…

Writing scripture by hand is an ancient practice. Before the printing press, all scripture was retained and shared in this way. Beautiful illuminated Bibles were produced and are works of art. Writing the psalms allows us to linger and wonder about the words, participating in the scripture in a new way. It is a spiritual practice that allows us to see the scripture with new eyes and experience it anew.

We’d love to see every Psalm copied for our Camp Hanover Psalter! We’ll compile them into a book at the end of the summer.

We hope for drawings from campers, chicken-scratches from those us with a love for God but poor handwriting, reflections on a life-time of re-reading the psalms, calligraphy and illustrations from those with a gift for art, and everything in-between. We hope for different translations and languages and expressions of the psalms. When they have all arrived, they will be bound together as a reminder of our connection in this time when we feel far apart.

Instructions:

1. Sign up to get started

Visit this link to sign up and tell us which psalm you’d like to copy by hand. If your favorite Psalms have already been volunteered for, we hope you’ll consider another Psalm. We also want as many people involved as possible, which might mean multiple interpretations of the same Psalm. Our goal is to collect every psalm, so we’ll doing a little curating and coordinating the psalm assignments as well. After signing up, Colleen Earp, Camp Hanover’s Associate Director of Outdoor Ministry, will be in touch with you will be in touch, so you can decide together which psalm you’ll work on

2. Next, copy your assigned Psalm on one side of a 8.5 x 11″ piece of paper

Please note what translation of the Bible you’re using (we recommend New Revised Standard Version or Common English Bible, but we’re open to others if you have a favorite).

3. On the reverse side, share a little bit about what that Psalm means to you

What you write doesn’t have to be long. Feel free to color, draw, collage, highlight, or decorate your page in whatever way is meaningful to you! Take care to use writing implements that do not bleed through to the other side.

4. Send us your final creation

Scan your work (in color, at least 300 dpi) and email it to Colleen Earp at colleen@camphanover.org, or mail your Psalm (the original or a color copy) to us:

Psalter Project (Colleen Earp)
Camp Hanover
3163 Parsleys Mill Rd
Mechanicsville, VA 23111

Please submit your work by Friday, August 7.

We are excited to begin receiving your creations!