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Camping board begins leadership search

Joel Wortley led Michigan United Methodist Camping during a time of transition. Now the search begins for an Executive Director.

ST. JOHNS, Mich. | September 17, 2019 – Michigan Area United Methodist Camping (MAUMC), with offices here, will soon begin a search for a new Executive Director.

Since July of 2018 Joel Wortley has served as Interim Executive Director of MAUMC. Prior to that time, Wortley was serving as the Chairperson of the Board. The transition took place to provide leadership for new perspectives, commitments, and re-organization. “Joel has devoted countless hours to the task at hand,” said Stuart Smith, current Chair of the Board of MAUMC. “He has utilized his extensive professional experience in the area of organizational turnarounds to benefit our beloved camping ministry.” 

In June of 2015 the Detroit and West Michigan conferences voted to create a new corporation and board of directors to manage United Methodist camping in the state. Since that time, difficult decisions have had to be made regarding personnel and property. See recent news accounts: AC 2019 reaffirms camping ministry and Two Michigan campsites for sale. Smith comments, “Unfortunately, as the front-line operational person for the organization, Joel took much of the brunt of this.” The board chair adds, “However, Joel acted with integrity and conviction of purpose and need, even during a number of painful confrontations.”  

As reorganization continues and the search for an Executive Director begins, MAUMC asks all, who are concerned for the future of camping in the state, to exercise patience and understanding. “We, as a Board, know that Joel Wortley has been a bright light in what seemed like a dark tunnel,” Smith explains. “What was originally planned as a six-month ‘interim’ commitment from Joel, will turn into more than a two-year relationship by the time our new Executive Director is found, brought into the organization, oriented, and trained under the mentorship of Joel and the Board.”  

The Board of Directors of Michigan Area United Methodist Camping expresses their great appreciation for how Joel Wortley has approached a difficult role, which “he has masterfully handled, with both courage and faithfulness.”The Board also thanks Michigan United Methodists for their continued love of camping, a ministry that can transform lives for Christ.

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