Chris Schlieckert has been chosen to be the new Director of Retreat and Camping Ministries and the Director of the West River Center for the Baltimore Washington Conference. Chris will assume the position effective September 1. He will succeed Andy Thornton, who has served at West River Center for 31 years.
Chris is presently the Director at Manidokan Camp and Retreat Center, also in the Baltimore Washington Conference. He grew up in the United Methodist Church in the Minnesota Annual Conference. His pastor introduced him to camping when he was 10 years old when he joined a church trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. That would be the first of more than a dozen such trips.
Chris had his conversion experience while attending Jr. High Camp at Northern Pines United Methodist Assembly Grounds. When it came time to look for a summer job in college his pastor encouraged him to apply to work at camp. He would find out years later that all the summer positions at Northern Pines had already been filled, but his pastor wanted him to work there so much that he funded the summer position out of his discretionary fund. It was during this summer experience Chris felt the call to camping ministry as a profession.
After college Chris worked for three years at Northern Pines as Assistant Director. In 2007 he applied to become the Director at Manidokan. Andy Thornton reflects, “little did I know that during his interview he would meet the woman he would later marry”! Rev. Sarah Andrews and Chris were married in 2008 on campfire hill at Manidokan. They have two children, Anna, 7, and Mary, 4.
Chris is a big hockey fan, loves to cook, listens to a wide variety of music but readily admits he cannot play a lick. He loves being outdoors and connecting with God and others through nature.
Chris is excited and passionate about Retreat and Camping Ministry in the BWC and is looking forward to the opportunities to reach more campers and retreat guests to provide unmatched opportunities for spiritual transformation.
Special thanks to Andy Thornton for helping Chris grow in leadership, and for helping the UMCRM community learn to know him a bit better. Chris, may God abundantly bless you in your new ministry role!