Camp Emmaus is an outdoor ministry of the Illinois/Wisconsin District of the Church of the Brethren since 1948.
Nestled on nearly 100 acres of rolling woodland in the Rock River Valley, we invite you to connect with creation, experience God, and ignite your faith.
Camp Emmaus celebrated three-quarters of a century of outdoor ministry on Sept. 16, with nearly 70 people gathering for an afternoon of storytelling, music, a bountiful buffet luncheon, and enjoying the beauty of the camp setting.
The camp was organized by Brethren on former farmland in 1948, with the first full camp program occurring the following summer. Bill and Betty Hare served as managers for many of those years, retiring last fall after 58 years of service.
At the September event, new manager Randall Westfall shared reflections about outdoor ministry and some of his vision for camp, and the first Bill and Betty Hare Volunteer of Distinction award was presented to Doug Firebaugh of the Freeport congregation for his many dedicated years of volunteering.
Peg Lehman of the Highland Avenue congregation shared some songs, and a slide show of summer highlights prepared by the camp board reviewed the camp’s current ministry. New items from the camp store were also available for perusal and purchase.
Here's to the next 75 years of rich ministry at Emmaus!
I watched the first dark-eyed junco appear at our bird feeder about a week prior to Thanksgiving. These are the harbingers of the winter season. And it wasn’t but a few days after we saw them pecking the ground around our feeders that the temperatures dropped 20 degrees. Wintertime is one of germination, a process of growth and transformation that we are unable to see with our own eyes. Yet deep within the soil, life is beginning the process of reactivating.
Wintertime at camp feels much the same way. It is a season of preparation in which we don’t always see the effects like we might in the summertime, but we know that camp is beginning to reactivate.
During this season of change at Camp Emmaus, we are assured that just as Advent is a time for waiting, so is the good work that we are doing here at Emmaus, not only for the coming summer but in the coming years.
Advent is a season of waiting, with pregnant pause to greet the new thing God is doing. So, I’m going to enjoy watching the juncos as I anticipate my first winter at Emmaus to be a time for germinating new ideas, direction, and energy into what the Holy Spirit will direct in the coming year(s).
May this season at Emmaus be one of true waiting (and dreaming and imagining). In doing so, we can greet the arrival of camp’s 76th year of ministry knowing that this season of waiting and preparation will reactivate camp in an innovative and fresh way.
Respectfully in Christ,
About 40 people came together at camp on Saturday, Nov. 11, for an event that has become an annual Emmaus tradition: Leaf Raking Day!
Volunteers help clear the main camp areas of abundant leaves to preserve the grass and clean up the pool area while preparing camp for winter retreat groups.
Donuts, warm beverages, and other treats were available as a thank you to those who helped. A youth retreat also took place in the retreat lodge during the weekend.
More than three dozen people of all ages gathered on a chilly, windy late afternoon and evening on Saturday, Oct. 21 for the second district campfire and fall festivities.
This year’s activities included time to explore camp, a pumpkin decorating contest, pizza and snacks, and a campfire filled with singing and stories and sharing about gratitude, capped off with s’mores.
New camp manager Randall Westfall shared his musical talent in leading several songs, with help from camp board member Sara Garner, and Ralph Miner shared a story titled “You Are Special.”
Randall also shared a devotional reflection, encouraging all present to take notice of the unique wonder that’s present in nature.
A stone 'council ring' joined the Camp Emmaus landscape in late November. Find it at the end of the Boys’ Meadow
The ministry at Camp Emmaus is made possible because so many have experienced camp as a “thin space” where the goodness of God’s earth and people blend with the ethereal heavenly realm. Camp has been that sacred space now for 75 years.
In his epistle, James writes to the church, Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights. (1:17a NRSV). Here at Camp Emmaus, we’ve witnessed how this verse is fulfilled in the overwhelming support that has been shown and given to camp this year. Truly a reminder that every generous act of giving and every perfect gift comes from above and the Father of Lights.
Your generous acts of giving and serving have allowed the camp to take on new projects and make some much-needed upgrades. We’d like to share the list of projects that were completed this year thanks to the many generous donors and supporters:
- New Mural at the pool house
- New vinyl plank flooring in the manager’s house
- New water heater at manager’s house
- New Zero-Turn Lawn Mower
- New Council Campfire Ring Area at the Boy’s Meadow
- New Leadership on Camp Board and new Camp ManagerCamp Emmaus seeks to be a good steward of what has been entrusted to us and we are imagining and envisioning an even brighter future in outdoor ministry as we begin our 76th year of ministry in 2024. The surge of support is coupled with many of our rental groups returning and booking for next year as well as interest from other possible rental groups. The need is great, and we want to continue to partner with individuals, congregations, and organizations to further grow this ministry to campers, rental groups and all who encounter this sacred space.There’s much to be thankful for and as we look ahead to 2024, and we continue to thank God for the generous acts of giving and perfect gifts from above! We are beyond blessed to have a community supporting us with time, energy, prayers, materials, leadership, and donations. Your continued faithfulness, prayers and support are deeply appreciated! We also want to encourage you to consider inviting youth to come as campers and encourage any family or social group to consider Camp Emmaus as a retreat location. We look forward to partnering with you again in 2024!
Please consider a generous contribution & help us meet our goals
for the remainder of 2023 and forward into 2024!
To donate, please mail your check or use the Donate link on this page.You can view our 2023 Annual Report online.With gratitude,Randall Westfall
Manager, Camp Emmaus
Camp Emmaus is a 501 (c) 3 organization, and all gifts are fully tax deductible.
Please consider donating the year-end Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from your IRA or consider how Camp Emmaus might be a part of your Estate Planning.
FYI for those sending mail to camp going forward.
Please do NOT mail anything to camp using both the PO Box and the camp physical address anymore. Example of what NOT to do:Camp Emmaus
PO Box 128
3011 W. Camp Rd.
Mt. Morris IL 61054
The reason is that camp now has a mailbox on site that is for the Westfall's personal mail and that creates confusion between the Oregon and the Mount Morris post offices when done as such and it actually delays the mail by a week or so as 3011 W. Camp Rd. is not a Mt. Morris address.
So going forward anything that is business related to Camp Emmaus please send to:PO Box 128
Mt. Morris, IL 61054
And anything that is for the Westfall's (or UPS/FedEx deliveries) please send to:3011 W. Camp Rd.
Oregon IL 61061
Hopefully this will resolve the issue and we'll see mail get to camp much quicker as a result. Thanks!
3011 W. Camp Rd. • Oregon, IL 61061
(815) 734-4268 • email@example.com
Encounter Creation. Experience God. Ignite your Faith.
To the Delegate body of the Illinois/Wisconsin District Conference:
On behalf of the Camp Emmaus Board, Staff, Volunteers, Investors and Supporters, I am honored to be called as the new camp manager and to share with you the many ways that Camp Emmaus is impacting the world with the restorative good news of Christ for the redemption of all creation.
At a time when the world seems to be tearing at the seams, outdoor ministry is one of the many places in the church that is actively working to prevent the further tearing by inviting people of all ages to experience intentional Christian community and live into radical obedience of God’s love for the world.
Camp Emmaus 2023 Highlights:
- We celebrated 75 years of outdoor ministry with an appreciation Luncheon and presentation with about 65 folks in attendance.
- By the numbers: 110 campers and 50 staff representing multiple congregations in the northern tier of the district.
- This summer’s camp theme was What’s in a Name where campers and staff explored biblical stories, the names of characters, and the names of those who have shaped us, and learned to go out and serve in the name of God, who empowers us to name every moment and every place as holy ground.
- New amenities and features: Zero-Turn Mower, Manager’s Office, Upgrades to Manager’s House, Mural on the pool house, council campfire area in boy’s meadow area.
- Our camp staff, board and volunteers have both done incredible work extending the ministry of Camp Emmaus to a number of guest groups, and they have sought to be wise and diligent stewards of our financial resources.
- Next weekend (Nov. 10-12) is the annual Fall Leaf Raking and Youth Retreat. Jonathan Stauffer and I will be leading the youth sessions on eco-discipleship and how to deepen their connection with God’s creation. And come and lend a hand as we tend to the property by raking leaves together.
- After 58 years as the camp manager, Bill Hare has retired from that position and continues to serve camp as a faithful volunteer. He and I have been working together to ensure that the transition in leadership at Emmaus is as smooth as possible. I look forward to continuing to soak up his knowledge, stories, and wisdom as I transition more fully into the role as camp manager and administrator.
- A big thank you to our staff and volunteers for all the work (seen and unseen) that goes into keeping this camp looking and functioning as well as it does. Thank you for your passion and gifts to make Emmaus the sacred space that it is and will be for future generations.
- Come see us at our display booth to pick up some Emmaus gear, brochures and share what Camp Emmaus has given you. We hope to have a fundraising video as part of that sharing time go out on Giving Tuesday.
2024 Summer Camp Schedule:
May 24-27 Memorial Day Family Camp
July 7-11 Intermediate Camp
July 12-14 YAAYAH Camp
July 14-20 Senior High Camp
July 21-27 Middle School Camp
Aug. 2-4 CiT Training
Aug. 3-4 Elementary I Camp
Aug. 8-10 Women’s Camp
Aug. 16-18 Men’s Camp
Aug. 30-Sept. 2 Labor Day Family Camp
We share this report about the ministry taking place at camp so that you may know how such experiences of immersive Christian community help people know and experience first-hand the presence of God in ways that nurture hope for our present and future. As we continue the work of Jesus at camp, we ask that you prayerfully consider how you might have a role in the ministry of camp and specifically as Emmaus transitions into new leadership. And as always, we look forward to partnering with you and to what awaits us in 2024.
Camp Emmaus Manager
May 24-27 Memorial Day Family Camp July 7-11 Intermediate Camp (grades 3-5) July 12-14 Young Adult and Young at Heart Camp (YAAYAH) July 14-20 Senior High Camp (grades 9-12) July 21-27 Middle School Camp (grades 6-8) August 2-4 CIT August 3-4 Elementary Camp (grades 1-2) August 8-10 Women's Camp August 16-18 Men's Camp Aug. 30-Sept. 2 Labor Day Family Camp Check the schedule page for more details.
Firewood is available for sale at the camp. For information, contact the camp at 815-734-4268.
Winter is a perfect time to schedule a retreat at camp in the cozy retreat lodge or log cabin. Call 815-734-4268 to check availability.
DID YOU KNOW? A total of 110 campers from a variety of congregations took part in camp this past summer. Can we hit 150 in 2024?
The annual Labor Day Family Camp Sept. 1-4 drew several dozen people for good food, fellowship, and burning lots of wood.
Welcome to new camp board members Callie Surber and Mike Sondgeroth! And thank you to Aaron Gerdes and Jan Dietrich, who are completing their terms of service.
Save the dates: The Midwest's Powerhouse Regional Youth Conference, sponsored by Camp Mack and Manchester University with the help of local districts, will take place Feb. 16-18, 2024, at Camp Mack in Milford, Ind.
Consider a year-end (or any time) gift to Camp Emmaus! In addition to its regular annual fund, the camp is also building a new endowment to secure the ministries of camp for the future.
Dan Radcliff, treasurer
Shannon McNeil Smith
Austin Weaver, recording secretary
Randall Westfall, camp manager
|MOUNT MORRIS WEATHER|
send mail to:
P.O. Box 128
Mt. Morris, IL 61054
ship UPS to:
3011 W. Camp Rd.
Oregon, Illinois 61061
To make a reservation or ask the Camp Managers a question please call 1-815-734-4268;
for summer camp related questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org