Attending “Bonnie Church”

Bonnie Dawson

I was thrilled to receive the following note about our camp church services in my email recently. The note, from alum and parent Diana Titus-Allen Waller, was so touching that I had to ask Diana if we could repost it here for the blog. She said yes and so here it is.


I have been meaning to write this email to you for months, but it wasn’t until this morning when I was feeling blue and I looked over at a clear jar on my desk that I realized I had to stop everything and tell you this anecdote. (My daughter Reece gave me a memory jar for Christmas that is filled with typed memories cut into little strips that I am to visit whenever I need a smile. I just read one that cracked me up, and that I had forgotten, and that is what reminded me that I should send this wonderful story to you).

Addison, Maeve, and Reece were in the back of the mini-van as we returned from attending their first wedding. A high water mark as you can imagine. It was for the mom of friends since Kindergarten of both Addison and Reece, and our families are very close. I was thrilled my friend had, at age 45, found a new wonderful man, so it was a very happy day.

The wedding was outside in bright sunshine in the courtyard of the Hotel Monaco in Old Town, Alexandria. The girls loved the flowers, their friends’ bridesmaid dresses, and my friend in her wedding dress. There wasn’t any real dancing at 11:30 in the morning, but it was festive and we were there for almost four hours for ceremony, toasts, photos, food, and the very fun open bar (for sodas :). They really enjoyed the whole wedding event.

During the car ride home we discussed how brief the ceremony was because it was a civil ceremony with a borrowed minister, outside, and a second wedding. We laughed about their very Catholic friend who was astounded at the brevity compared to the one hour plus + + long weddings she was used to.

Our girls launched into this very animated discussion about their weddings of the future and how they didn’t want them quite so short, and maybe not quite so long, but definitely more like “Bonnie Church.”

Definitely, agreed all the girls amongst themselves.

Camp Alleghany for Girls
(Click to enlarge.)

Brian asks what is Bonnie Church, clearly not having heard the other 19 times the girls have brought up their love of Bonnie Church.

The quotes below are attributed to all the girls, because they were all equally passionate.

“Dad, it is the best. Bonnie doesn’t talk at us, she talks to us, and there are great songs!”

“Bonnie talks about ideas and topics that we all relate to.”

“It is just long enough and just short enough.”

Yeah, I wish we could go try Bonnie Church at least once at home, too.

We have a lovely small Catholic, former missionary church that we attend, Brian most of all. The priest is wonderful but just for fun, one Sunday I wish I could go to Bonnie Church too, to see what it’s all about. But at least I get to hear how wonderful it is, and that it’s another special part of camp!

As I said, there have been other animated conversations about their love of Bonnie Church and I just thought I would share some of their words to put into your memory jar!

XO — Diana

As you can imagine, this warmed my heart. I hope it warms yours, too, as you think of our gentle summers, and our even gentler Sundays, with all your girls gathered for a sweet service during camp!

— Bonnie Dawson, Director of Special Events, Camp Alleghany for Girls