March 4, 2011
To the Clergy and People of the Diocese,
Greetings in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ! I write you with exciting and important information about the ministry of our beloved Camp DeWolfe.
Over the past eighteen months, I have endeavored to give my full and energetic support to the work and ministry of our Diocesan Camp. Indeed, it has captured my heart from the beginning of my episcopate and continues to be one of my greatest priorities. In fact, this past summer, my wife Jeanne and I dedicated much of our time to Camp DeWolfe, visiting with each camp session and interacting with our campers and camp staff. I came away from these experiences with a healthy mixture of hope and concern for our camp, thoughts and feelings I have shared continually with the Board of Camp DeWolfe.
A few months ago, I presented a plan to Kathleen Loomis-Ward (the present Executive Director of the Camp), envisioning a change in leadership for the summer of 2011 and a new direction for the camp’s ministry, including the appointment of a new Executive Director and Program Director. I also shared this vision with the Board of Camp DeWolfe in January. As a result, I have invited Matthew and Emma Tees, a couple trained in the operation and program of church-based camps, to consider taking on these staff positions.
This past week, Mathew and Emma came to the Diocese of Long Island and had the opportunity to meet with members of the diocesan staff, the executive committee of the Camp DeWolfe board, and Kathleen Loomis Ward. Their visit to Camp DeWolfe filled them with a sense of excitement and desire to build up on the hard work of the past. However, they cautioned the executive committee and me that certain physical and programmatic changes would need to occur in order for us to move forward, beginning with a comprehensive strategic plan for the camp.
These various conversations, along with our own ongoing evaluation of the program and property, has led me to the conclusion that it is time to take the next steps for the sake of our camp and its future ministry. These steps include a complete independent evaluation of the property, program, finances and procedures, which we believe will result in the renovation of the kitchen, recreation hall, pool area and other spaces, the preparation of the water front as a vital part of the camping program and necessary renovation of the chapel.
In order for us to accomplish this work, camp operations will temporarily end as of June 1, 2011, postponing the summer camping session until 2012, with use of the camp for outside groups suspended until at least January of 2012. I recognize that this will come as a disappointment to many of our young people who were looking forward to a summer camping experience at Camp DeWolfe this year. Therefore, in the meantime, children wishing to have a Christian camping experience will be aided by the diocese to attend Episcopal camps in our neighboring diocese. More information concerning how to access this help will be sent to each parish office by April 1, 2011
As we cross this significant threshold in the life of our beloved camp, I would like to once again thank our current director, Kathleen Loomis-Ward and her husband Dick, who have held the camp together for nearly a decade with little support from the diocese. I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to them as they hand over the stewardship of the camp to a new team of leaders and to those who will carry on the legacy of Christian Camping in our diocese.
I pray you will support this bold decision and agree with me that the youth ministry of our diocese must have the best we can offer. We pledge to keep you informed of developments throughout the year. Be sure to look for updates and information on the diocesan and camp website. Finally, I would ask that you keep us all in your prayers as we continue the work of Christ as One Diocese, One Mission.
The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano
Bishop of Long Island