Workshop: Creating Space to Cultivate our Callings and Passions

Picking up on the theme from the keynote, Stevens will invite participation in activities that cultivate spaces for communities to tap into their callings and passions. Drawing on their work at Thistle Farms, Becca, Jovita, Anika, and Lori will demonstrate how to make incense, oils, and balms that allow groups to hear their calling and find their passions. They will share stories of healing in community and how they create sacred space.


Keynote: Camps and Congregations as Partners in Ministry (Jacob Sorenson, The Confirmation Project)

Camps and conference centers are often viewed as optional to the life and ministry of the church, with their value being reduced to places of relaxation or mere fun and games. In a time when many camping organizations are growing distant from denominational bodies and theological convictions, it is essential to reclaim camp's role as an educational ministry of the Church. This session will focus on groundbreaking new research in the field of Christian camping ministry that highlights camp's indispensable role as a partner in ministry. Using this research, the session will offer a theological framework for understanding camps and conference centers in the Protestant traditions.

About the Presenter: Jacob Sorenson is a doctoral candidate in Practical Theology at Luther Seminary with a deep interest in bringing scholarly attention to outdoor ministry. He has a Masters of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and more than ten years of experience as a youth minister and camp minister. He loves spending time with his amazing wife Anna (a Lutheran pastor) and their two boys Elijah and Nathanael. He also enjoys gardening, running, singing around a campfire, and most outdoor recreational activities. Jacob blogs at Blessed Wilderness.


Keynote: Creating Space to Cultivate our Callings and Passions (The Rev. Becca Stevens, Thistle Farms)

We all long for new epiphanies and to feel renewed in our work. As leaders called to create sanctuary for others, we have to create that space within our own hearts. Finding the freedom to work where our desires lead us is the theme of the keynote for the camp and conference leaders who create that sacred space for others.

About the Presenter: The Rev. Becca Stevens is one of the premier speakers in the U.S., proclaiming love as the most powerful force for social change. She is an author, Episcopal priest and founder of Thistle Farms, a community of women who have survived prostitution, trafficking and addiction. Most recently she has been featured in the PBS documentary, “A Path Appears.” She is a prolific writer and has been featured in the New York Times, on ABC World News, NPR, PBS, CNN, and Huffington Post and named by the White House as one of 15 Champions of Change for violence against women in 2011. She was named 2014 Humanitarian of the Year by the Small Business Council of America, has been inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame, and was conferred an honorary doctorate by Sewanee: The University of the South. Her newest book is, “Letters from the Farm: A Simple Path for a Deeper Spiritual Life.”


Roundtable: Filling More than a Calendar: How to Build Year-Round Relationships

This roundtable will brainstorm ways to not only bring in business for your retreat center, but to grow and enliven it and serve your mission, through dynamic year-round relationships with your churches, diocese, and communities. From ambassadors and Camp Sundays, to event publicity and attending convention, join us as we discuss opportunities for building meaningful relationships and a full retreat center calendar.

About the Presenters: Jack Dowling has worked at The Bishop's Ranch in the Diocese of California for twenty years. Ashley Graham-Wilcox is the Director of Communications and Development for Episcopal Camps & Conference Centers.


Workshop: Financials 201: Finances in the New Executive/Director Position

As a new executive/director you must oversee many areas of the camp/conference center. Financials are an integral part of that equation: Without a strong financial base your camp/conference center will suffer in their ministries. Come learn what to watch out for so that you will know where your camp/conference center stands financially. We will discuss: What reports are important and how to read them; what systems are in place to ensure employee accountability; why budgets are important and why projections are even more important.

About the Presenter: Alison Walsh is Technology Specialist and Financial Reporting Manager for Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, Sweetwater Episcopal Academy and Resurrection Preschool in Longwood, Florida. Prior to these roles, she was the Executive Director of the Duncan Center.