Spelman named Camp Aldersgate Director

July 08, 2018

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 executive director for the camp located in North Scituate, RI. 

Spelman has served as interim director since December 2017. He begins his new role immediately.

John Michael Spelman

“Over these past six months, John has demonstrated the emotional intelligence, spiritual depth, cultural competency, and strength of leadership that we need in this position,” said the Rev. Erica Robinson-Johnson, who as Director of Connectional Ministries oversees Camping and Retreat Ministries for the Conference.

“John’s contributions to the Camp and Retreat Ministries Executive Board are invaluable, and his commitment to serving the best interests of Camp Aldersgate and the New England Conference as a whole are crucial gifts for such a time as this. We are delighted to have him as part of our team.” 

The Rev. Garvin Warden, retired, chaired the Search Committee.

“Beginning in March, we conducted a national search for this position, and received applications from across the country,” Rev. Warden said. “After an extensive interview process, we felt that John was the right choice for many reasons – including the fact that camping and retreat ministry had a great impact on his own spiritual formation. 

“The committee agreed that if given the opportunity to follow his vision, Camp Aldersgate will continue to be a strong partner is assisting the New England Annual Conference in our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ. He has all of the experience and understanding needed in order to fulfill our hopes and wishes for Camp Aldersgate.”

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.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to be chosen as the Executive Director of Camp Aldersgate,” Spelman said. “I have been a camper, staffer, and volunteer at Aldersgate for over 20 years, and it is my dream to be leading this organization into the future.”

Spelman said that his immediate goal is to “reconnect people and churches to Aldersgate.” 

That reconnection work is already under way, Rev. Robinson-Johnson said.

“In this short time John has strengthened relationships and renewed a network of support among United Methodist congregations and clergy throughout the Rhode Island/SE MA District and beyond,” she said. “We look forward to the new possibilities that will emerge as we grow the ministry of Camp Aldersgate.”

Search Committee

Rev. Garvin Warden, chair
Rev. Erica Robinson-Johnson, Director of Connectional Ministries
Karen Pehrson, Camp Aldersgate Board chair
Pastor Alicia Velez Stewart, who serves Bridgewater (MA) UMC, representing clergy
Jenn White, former camper, volunteer staffer, and a parent of a camper
Rev. Gary Nettleton, volunteer staffer
Liam Burke, former camper and summer staff member