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Suzanne and Jim Are Retiring!

We recently found a 1932 newsletter from Camp Westminster with an article about the two lodges at camp. It talked about the dining lodge (Odell) which holds marvelous memories for all of us – delicious meals, joyful singing, energizers, caper awards, plate scraping skits, ceilidhs, marriage proposals, and wedding receptions.

The “second lodge” is the lodge that is built of the community of people who live, serve, and play at Camp Westminster. People whose loving faces, happy smiles, and dedicated hearts and hands encouraged us year in and year out to continue serving God by providing a place where people can live in this beloved community. Those people will never leave our memories and warm our hearts. Campers, alumni and volunteers are part of that “second lodge” for us, and we want you to know how much you will always be part of the Westminster Lodge for us.

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We were called to serve at Camp Westminster in 1995 when it was very close to being returned to the State of Michigan and have worked hard to build new lodges and upgrade almost all of the facilities while continuing to develop a program for children and youth that encourages faith in God, strong, independent minds and bodies, and is a diverse, inclusive community.

We have also worked to provide a place alumni can feel a part of as they return to reminisce and to serve in a variety of ways. So many alumni have returned to give of their time and talent and to strengthen these strong bonds formed so long ago.

Westminster has also developed as a center for mission. A place where young hands and hearts have served in a myriad of ways from maintaining trails, painting and scraping old buildings, providing exemplary music and Bible Quest programs, and learning new construction skills while helping to build the Greenies, the Yurts, the Guest House, Walden Lodge, and the Bungalow (new log cabin).

Out-trips, canoe trips on the AuSable, trips to national parks, and leadership capstone trips to Iona in Scotland have provided life-changing experiences and helped to build skills for a whole new generation of leaders for the church and the camping ministry.

Westminster-by-the-Lake worship services have been the summer church home for many and have had outstanding preachers and music that so many look forward to each year. Westminster-on-the-Road has provided Bible School both in person and virtually for many children and youth.

Although our original succession plan called for retirement a couple of years ago, the arrival of the coronavirus changed plans as we hoped for a return to normalcy. In the past two summers programs were provided that enabled children and families to enjoy the benefits of a week on Higgins Lake. It has now become clear to us that February 1, 2022 is the time to retire. It has been both an honor and a privilege to have directed camp for almost 27 years. As we look forward to enjoying increased time with family and friends please know that our hearts and minds will always be intertwined with the “second lodge” at Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake. We pray for God’s richest blessings on all who have been so deeply touched by this ministry.

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