The day her husband died, Ruth Hamp said, “He needed to rest.” But Hamp’s legacy won’t rest.
In his book “The Soul’s Code,” author James Hillman says that we all are born with the “acorn” of our natural talents inside us. For our talents to be realized, Hillman says, we need to “grow down.” This means using natural talents for a greater good. Putting roots into a community by giving back.
Growing down. The Rev. Clifton E. Hamp, who died Monday at age 81, was a master at it. Blessed with natural self-confidence, leadership skills and the ability to call forth potential in young people, Hamp shared those talents with thousands of Inland Northwest men, women and children.
In 1960, he helped found the Full Gospel Mission Church for All Nations, now located at 1912 E. First. The church’s mission became the poor. It didn’t matter how or why the poor had come to be that way. Hamp reached out to them with the confidence that this was his calling in life.
Hamp’s growing down into the poor community saved bodies and souls. Each Thanksgiving, the church sponsored a Thanksgiving dinner. At Christmas, gift baskets were given away. And “Hamp’s Camp” provided fun, discipline and religious instruction to dozens of kids each summer. The children experienced beauty in nature and in the Gospel. Hamp’s philosophy was simple: “Give these kids a set of values that they might be able to use later.”
He lived to see some of the “later.” Children his church had helped grew up to be leaders. His wife, Ruth Hamp, became a religious leader in her own right, starting the March for Jesus.
In the last months of Hamp’s life, as his strength left him, the community gave back. People visited, helped out, provided respite for family caregivers. When Hamp was hospitalized in March, the hospital’s waiting room became a prayer room, filled with those whose lives he had touched.
Volunteerism and community activism are hot right now. Retired Gen. Colin Powell recently led a national summit devoted to the topic. But Hamp was on to it early. And he never wavered. Every year, he faced a money shortage for his camp. Every year, he made an appeal to the community for money for the camp. Every year, the community came through.
The day her husband died, Ruth Hamp said, “He needed to rest.” But Hamp’s legacy won’t rest. Making a difference takes time and commitment. It takes growing down. Hamp showed the rest of us how it can be done.
, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Rebecca Nappi/For the editorial board
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