Citing cuts in ministry shares by The Michigan Conference, the Board of Camping announced suspension of operations at Judson Collins Camp for the 2020 season.
STUART SMITH | JOEL WORTLEY
Michigan Area United Methodist Camping Board
The Michigan Area United Methodist Camping Board of Directors knows one thing very well: camping changes lives. Our board has been working hard to be good stewards of the many wonderful spaces we have in the state of Michigan to do God’s work. At camp, people meet God, people feel called by God, and people are transformed by God.
Michigan Area United Methodist Camping receives a significant portion of its funding from the Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church, and due to declining support in the form of Ministry Shares, the Conference is asking many of its programmatic ministries to make immediate changes to bring spending in line with income. In early 2019 we had to close four of our properties for financial reasons. Unfortunately, 2019 was a difficult year financially, requiring another significant change in order to move the camping ministry forward.
Because of the powerful way that camping ministry has allowed people to connect with God, we know decisions about camp properties are full of emotion. It is with heavy hearts we announce we will be suspending operations at Judson Collins Camp & Retreat Center for the 2020 camping season. We acknowledge the hurt that may particularly be felt by those whose lives have been transformed by this space. We believe this difficult decision will strengthen the ministries at our other sites for this current season.
As we look to the future, the Board has engaged Kaleidoscope, a nationally recognized firm that provides professional services to camps, retreats, and outdoor centers to help them thrive. Kaleidoscope will help the Board develop a “Master Plan” for the organization. This work will involve an extensive review of all of our camp locations and programs, including Judson Collins Camp. It will result in a strategic plan to guide and direct our ministry in the coming years. This work will be completed in late spring and the Board believes this will ensure we move forward to change lives in meaningful ways for years to come.
Even in the midst of difficult realities, we continue to praise God for the lives that are changed at all of our camps. We extol God’s name as people continue to share their stories of how camping has changed their lives. We want to see camping thrive in Michigan. We continue because of your ongoing support! Our other camps — Lake Michigan Camp & Retreat, Lake Huron Retreat Center, and Wesley Woods Camp & Retreat Center — are ready to welcome new and returning campers for summer programming while Lakeview Family Campground is available for families. There are many different events to choose from for all ages – our full lineup of 2020 summer programs will be posted next week, no later than Jan. 10 at umcamping.org.
~ Note: Stuart Smith serves as President of the Board of Directors and Joel Wortley is the Interim Executive Director of Michigan Area United Methodist Camping.