Shirley appointed Interim Coordinator of Camping, Retreat and Youth Ministries
SPRINGFIELD – Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, in consultation with the IGRC Cabinet, the Director of Connectional Ministries and leadership in both the Camping Commission and the Conference Personnel Committee, has announced the appointment of the Rev. Alice Shirley as Interim Coordinator of Camping, Retreat and Youth Ministries effective June 15.
Shirley is no stranger to camping both as a pastor and as a youth. From 1980 to 1991, she served as co-director of the conference camps in the former Central Illinois Conference. Most of those years were spent at Jensen Woods, although she co-directed once at Living Springs (then Epworth Springs) in Lewistown. She was also involved in camping in the former South Indiana Conference prior to coming to Illinois in 1979.
“My growing up years were full of church camp experiences as my church in Indianapolis owned a campground, Camp Otto, near Cloverdale, Ind.,” Shirley said. “It was there in early mornings that I was taught journaling as a spiritual discipline. It was in a church camp lesson on the “Christ” in “Christian” that I first heard the call to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Camping and retreat ministries have played a very significant role in my faith development, and I’m excited to be in a position now to help ensure that those same opportunities are available to new generations.”
Shirley sees her role as building upon the work and foundation laid by others. “I feel very blessed to be appointed to this interim position of administration and advocacy for Christian camping in the IGRC,” she said. “I hope to be a faithful steward of the inheritance I receive.”
In an announcement released Thursday and co-signed by Director of Connectional Ministries Kent Lolling, Doug Stewart, chair of the IGRC Camping Commission, and Dixie Croxton, chair of the IGRC Camping Personnel Committee, Shirley’s responsibilities in the upcoming year are to work with Camping, Retreat and Youth and assist the Camping Commission and Equipping and Connecting Team in transition toward a new future.
“This transition gives us an opportunity to evaluate and begin reshaping the ministries; determine the requirements for staffing camping and youth coordination; develop appropriate job description(s) and begin a national search for the new position or positions while providing stability to the ministry in the interim,” the statement read. “We are thankful to have Alice’s expertise in the camping ministry as well her wealth of experience as a pastor, conference leader, and district superintendent to assist in this time of transition. “
“I’m eager to become acquainted with staff at all our sites as well as support improvement efforts already underway at the various camps,” Shirley said. “I hope to promote camping and retreat ministries around the conference through preaching and to be a source of encouragement to clergy and lay volunteers in camping ministries and administration. One of the gifts I bring to my vocation as pastor is aligning ministry with the vision and mission of the church, so I’ll be looking for areas where that may need to happen. I enjoy working as part of a team and being in the God’s awesome outdoors.”
Shirley has 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry that began in Southern Indiana. She has served pastorates at Latham, associate at Monticello, McLean-Waynesville, Galva First, East Moline Christ and Salem Grace. She also served seven years as superintendent in the Embarras River District.