The New England Conference and the Aldersgate Camp and Retreat Center Board of Directors are pleased to announce that John Michael Spelman has been named interim director for the North Scituate, RI, camp.
Spelman will begin on Dec. 6, 2017. Jennifer Carpenter, who led Aldersgate as executive director for 11 years, resigned for health reasons effective Nov. 30, 2017.
“The executive members of the board were impressed with John’s strong history with the camp, which spans over 15 years as camper, volunteer, and staff member, including being the camp program director for two years,” said Karen Pehrson, board chair. “He will be able to pick up immediately and work with staff and volunteers in a seamless transition of leadership to be well-prepared for the winter retreat season and 2018 summer camp season.”
Spelman, who resides in Rhode Island, helped lead the camp through two extensive American Camping Association accreditation reviews in the past decade.
“John understands what it takes to meet the quality benchmarks for health, safety, and programming, and we are confident he will maintain these for all who participate and work at Aldersgate,” said the Rev. Erica Robinson-Johnson, Director of Connectional Ministries, who supervises Conference camps’ executive leadership.
“We feel he will bring the high quality of leadership we have come to expect at our camps, and make the transition time between Jennifer and the next executive director a productive and promising one,” Rev. Robinson-Johnson said.
A search committee will be formed before the end of the year to develop a job description for the executive director, and it is expected they will be reviewing finalists’ resumes this summer. It is hoped the new executive director will start work in fall 2018.
A Rhode Island native, Spelman is a member of the East Greenwich United Methodist Church. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in international development from the University of Rhode Island.
During college, he spent time working for a nonprofit in Kenya, and used that experience to create a global village/social justice emphasis at Aldersgate’s summer program.
“My goals as interim director are to maintain the Conference’s high standard of excellence for Camping and Retreat Ministries, and to continue to improve Aldersgate throughout this transitional period,” Spelman said. “For generations, Aldersgate has been a sacred space to reconnect with nature, grow in faith, and live in Christian community. As the interim director, I will work to continue to provide the ‘Aldersgate Experience’ for all.”