How Do We Best Support Viable, Sustainable, Effective Camp Ministry?

For some time now, the Camp Hanover Ministries Board Purpose Group (the board responsible for the oversight, visioning, guidance and shepherding of the camp and staff), has been asking an important question: How do we best support Viable, Sustainable and Effective Camp Ministry?

This question, and the ongoing conversation about how to adapt and operate Camp Hanover so it continues to be a healthy and effective ministry long into the future led us to examine and evaluate our structure as an organization.

In the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic, and across the PC(U.S.A.), other Presbyteries have transitioned their camps to incorporated structures. The Camp Hanover Ministries Board Purpose Group believes moving to a structure that incorporates the ministry of Camp Hanover is the key to keeping your camp healthy, strong, relevant, and organized in a way to best meet the challenges of operating in today’s complex world.

A New Structure, The Same Camp You Know, Trust, and Love

It is important to recognize that this action, if approved by the Presbytery, is simply a change in structure. On the outside – to the campers, their parents, retreat goers, to you – Camp Hanover will be exactly the same. On the inside, Camp Hanover’s ability to achieve ministry and mission goals would be stronger, and it’s future more secure. Camp Hanover will still be the camp of the Presbytery of the James, and better able to reach beyond the Presbytery and the denomination when it makes sense to do so.

Taking this step offers advantages to both the Presbytery and Camp Hanover.

Through incorporation, we believe the Camp-Presbytery relationship will grow stronger. Experience at other sites show that after incorporation conversations between the camp and Presbytery begin to focus more on our shared ministry and mission, and how to achieve it, rather than getting bogged down and shifting focus as they do now when issues related to monetary matters, property management, and financial burdens arise.

For the Presbytery, incorporation will provide financial certainty through a Covenant Agreement between the parties that defines, among other things, the level of financial support the Presbytery will provide each year. After incorporation, the Presbytery will continue to strongly support the Camp Hanover ministry with mission funding, however it will no longer be responsible for covering any financial shortfall should the camp experience one.

For the camp, under the new structure, decisions regarding camp operations will be made by members of Presbyterian congregations and the local community who serve on the Camp Hanover Board — the people who are most closely involved with the camp and who are charged with the responsibility to execute those decisions.

One of the most important benefits of incorporation for both the Presbytery and the Camp is how this structure secures the future of the camp and helps insulate both the presbytery and the camp from liability risks.

The Timeline So Far

December 2017
Members of the Purpose Group take action to begin preparing for incorporation and to submit a recommendation to the Presbytery of the James to incorporate Camp Hanover as soon as is practicable.

February 2018
The concept of incorporating of Camp Hanover is presented at the Presbytery meeting. The presentation was well received and the Purpose Group resolved to push forward.

March 2018 – October 2018
A work group comprised of purpose group members and other presbytery leaders work together developing a draft Covenant agreement to define the relationship between the Presbytery and an incorporated Camp Hanover ministry, using ongoing input from the Leadership Connections Team, Presbytery Trustees, and pastors and elders of Presbytery congregations. In consultation with legal counsel, drafts of Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws are developed.

November 2018
At locations throughout the Presbytery, town-hall-style conversations take place to ask and answer questions, receive feedback on draft documents, and gather additional input to finalize development of the draft Covenant Agreement and other draft incorporation documents.

December 2018
The Camp Hanover Purpose Group finalizes incorporation document drafts prepares recommendation to Presbytery.

February 2018
Recommendation to incorporate presented for First Reading at Presbytery meeting.

June 2018
Presbytery votes on the recommendation to incorporate.

July 1, 2019 – January 1, 2020
Should the way be clear, Camp Hanover begins operating as a newly incorporated non-profit ministry.

DRAFT Incorporation Documents

DRAFT Covenant and Financial Addendum – Revision 18.10.22
DRAFT Articles of Incorporation – Revision 18.10.22
DRAFT Bylaws – Revision 18.10.22

Join the Conversation

As the Camp Hanover Ministries Board Purpose Group develops the Covenant Agreement and other documents that will establish the new structure and define the relationship between Camp Hanover and the Presbytery, your participation in the discussion is critical. You can ask questions and provide feedback by emailing Tim Beane, moderator of the Camp Hanover Ministries Board Purpose Group at or Doug Walters, Camp Hanover's Executive Director at

You are also invited to join one of the conversations listed below to learn more about what incorporation means for the Presbytery and Camp Hanover, ask questions, and contribute your input as this important work is undertaken.

All conversations begin at 7pm.

Tuesday, October 30 – Tuckahoe Presbyterian Church, Richmond
Tuesday, November 6 – Bott Memorial Presbyterian Church, Dewitt
Wednesday, November 7 – The Presbyterian Church, Fredericksburg
Thursday, November 8 – First Presbyterian Church, Charlottesville

Please RSVP:

You are invited to join one of the conversations listed below learn more about what incorporation means for the Presbytery and Camp Hanover, ask questions, and contribute your input as this important work is undertaken.
  • All conversations start at 7pm. You are welcome to attend more than one!