News from the Diocese of San Joaquin

The California Supreme Court has recognized that the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin (and the Corporation Sole) was the rightful owner of the property and assets involved in the long standing legal battle over the properties, which includes the Evergreen Conference Center, Oakhurst (ECCO). 

ECCO is searching for an interim director


Episcopal Camps & Centers Receive Sustainability-Focused Funds

Five members of the Episcopal Camps & Conference Centers network have been awarded a total of $180,775 from the United Thank Offering.

Camp McDowell, in the Diocese of Alabama, was awarded $67,120 for a recycling center project. Three centers will use their funding on ecology/outdoor education centers: Grace Point Camp and Retreat Center (Diocese of East Tennessee), Honey Creek (Diocese of Georgia), and Gravatt Camp & Conference Center (Diocese of Upper South Carolina). St. Columba Episcopal Conference & Retreat Center in the Diocese of West Tennessee received $8,500 to continue working with Episcopal Service Corps on an internship program, this one focused on Environmental Mission.

The United Thank Offering is a ministry to promote thankfulness and mission in the Episcopal Church. Known worldwide as UTO, the United Thank Offering grants are awarded for projects that address human needs and help alleviate poverty, both domestically and internationally. 2016 grant requests were asked to focus on the fifth mark of mission of The Episcopal Church: To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.  The United Thank Offering of The Episcopal Church awarded 32 grants for a total of $1,161,314.62 in 2016. The United Thank Offering award funds are derived from the ingatherings/funds/contributions received through offerings from the “UTO Blue Box.”


Retired Director, Peter Bergstrom, Receives Lung Transplant

Peter Bergstrom, who retired as ECCC's Executive Director in December 2015, has suffered from pulmonary fibrosis since 2008, and has been on the waiting list for a lung transplant since early 2016. 

We are thrilled to share that on Monday, March 28, Peter received that transplant. 

Peter was awake Tuesday morning, walking and talking by Tuesday evening, and may well be out of the ICU by tomorrow. This is amazing progress!

Peter's family is with him at UCLA's Ronald Reagan Hospital, where he will stay for another two weeks or so. He and Vicki will stay nearby in Los Angeles for several months, in case complications arise. If you would like to send a card and well wishes to Peter and family, please send to:

Peter Bergstrom
c/o Camp Stevens
P.O. Box 2320
Julian, CA 92036

The Camp Stevens staff will regularly deliver them to the family. Please note that no live plants or flowers are permitted in the hospital room, so please do not send.

The prayers and support from this community are so appreciated by Peter, Vicki, Jenne, Erik, and Erin. A prayer for healing:

Good and Gracious God, You are the Great Healer of all things! We give you thanks for your continuous presence with Peter, Vicki, Jenne, Erik, and Erin. We thank you for your healing power so abundantly given to Peter and ask for continued healing for all involved in this great miracle, and help them know that they may ever be defended by your gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


Peter Bergstrom Retires After 10-Year Tenure: December 2015

Far too many children and teens are disconnected from both nature and caring community. Fewer and fewer are involved with any church, YMCA, Scouts, etc. where they can learn and incorporate positive, Christian values.

Dear ECCC Colleagues,

I became the Executive Director of ECCC in November of 2005, and it has been a great blessing for me both personally and professionally. Over the past 10 years I have had the great privilege of visiting most of our Episcopal camps and conference/retreat centers and I have served as a consultant to 30 of them. Each of these centers is in a beautiful location with unique facilities and programs. All that I have visited are operated by a loving and dedicated staff, and each is a great gift to the people of their diocese and the surrounding community. It has been a joy to meet and work with the directors of these centers and to connect with many each year at the ECCC Annual Conference. I also learned something from each of them, and that was a great benefit to my ministry at Camp Stevens.

I retired from Camp Stevens in 2012, and now it is time for me to fully retire. I have had pulmonary fibrosis for the past 8 years. It has not been much of a problem for me until this year, but now I need supplemental oxygen for any physical task. While there are still many things I would like to do with and for ECCC, I don’t have the energy to take on anything new. Fortunately, Bill Slocumb has been selected to serve as Director and he has a very strong and creative Board to support him, as well as Ashley Graham-Wilcox, his very competent associate.

Bill came to Camp Stevens in 2003 from Camp Crucis in Texas where he had served as a summer staff member while in college. He served for one year as a resident intern at Camp Stevens where he was involved in every aspect of program, maintenance and food service. He then served a year as an Urban Intern in Los Angeles through the Episcopal Service Corps. In 2005 he moved to Maryland where he served on the resident staff of the Bishop Claggett Center for six months. There he focused on hosting and administrative duties. When I became director of ECCC in 2005 I was still working half-time as the director of Camp Stevens. Joe Chamberlain, then Executive Director of Camp Weed and the Cerveny Center in Florida, agreed to serve as the part-time Director of Member Services for ECCC as long as Bill could come to Cerveny Center and work part-time as his ECCC assistant and also part-time for the Center, doing group hosting, maintenance, and coordinating with the diocesan summer camping program. In 2007 Bill took over from Joe as the ECCC Members Services Director and moved back to work with me at Camp Stevens. In 2008 he began his summer “Face to Face” visits and has now visited every Episcopal camp and conference center in the United States. Bill became the full-time Associate Director of ECCC in 2009, and he moved the Member Services office to the Duncan Conference Center in Florida where he also helped with guest services, while living on-site, and being on-call. In 2011 he moved the office to its present location, at the Diocese of West Texas offices in San Antonio, and in 2013 he became the ECCC Operations Director. As you can see, ECCC is very fortunate to have Bill Slocumb as its new Director!

And Bill is very fortunate to have Ashley Graham-Wilcox working with him and serving as the ECCC Director of Communications and Development. Ashley was a summer camper at Camp Stevens and became a counselor and summer resident staff member. She studied Advertising at Boston University and then worked for six years in high tech and event marketing. She and her husband, Trevor, were married at Camp Stevens in 2007. Ashley returned to Camp Stevens in 2009 where she serves as the Marketing and Outreach Manager. She began working part-time for ECCC in 2011, and has done an outstanding job with our website, newsletters, social media and all other aspects of communication. She also serves on the Board of the Episcopal Communicators.

ECCC is in a great position today to provide valuable assistance to the 104 Episcopal centers and summer programs, and help them thrive. I believe the camp experience is more important than ever for children today. Far too many children and teens are disconnected from both nature and caring community. Fewer and fewer are involved with any church, YMCA, Scouts, etc. where they can learn and incorporate positive, Christian values. Episcopal camps are one place where children and young people really learn to love God and one another. It is vital that our camps continue to flourish, and that they reach out to serve the entire community, not only Episcopalians, but also the vast numbers of children and families who are not affiliated with any church or religion. It is equally important that ECCC continue to support and nourish the directors of our retreat and conference centers, for these are places that help people experience caring community, reconnect with nature, and deepen their love of God and one another.

Peter Bergstrom
Executive Director, Retired


Transition News: June 2015

The ECCC Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Bill Slocumb will be the organization’s next Director. Peter Bergstrom, who is a founding member of ECCC and has served as Executive Director for 9 years, will retire in 2015.

Longtime Director of Operations, Bill has visited every Episcopal camp and conference center, and is considered by many “the face” of the organization. As Board Vice President Rob Watson says, “Bill is the right person at the right time for ECCC. He knows the organization inside and out and has excellent relationships with our centers and center directors.”

Since starting with ECCC in 2006, Bill has overseen major growth, both in the number of member centers, as well as the benefits enjoyed by these centers. Bill has been instrumental in helping ECCC expand its member services and benefits, increase funding sources, and develop partnerships with outside organizations like the ACA and Church Pension Group.

Board President, Lauri SoJourner says, “Bill has done an amazing job in his current role as operations director, particularly in his care for member centers and individuals. We could think of no one who has more passion for the mission of ECCC, and we know Bill will continue to move camp and conference ministry in the Episcopal Church forward.”

Join us in thanking Peter for his years of service, and giving a warm congratulations to Bill on his new role!

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