1 Methodist Camp Road
Makanda, IL 62958
Rev. Ed Hoke, an ordained United Methodist elder, was appointed in January of this year to serve as one of two Ministers of Mission Expansion (MME) in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. Based at Little Grassy, Ed is charged with the task of interpreting to local churches and non-profits the value of retreats and to advise them of camping ministry resources available to support their congregation or organization in their missions. Ed also assures, as a supervisor, that all parts of the camp are working together to maximize the benefits of the ministry, and as a spiritual leader, that the ministry keeps its focus on its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Ed has been involved in camping ministry one way or another since he began his active ministry. He has served as counselor, dean, and at one point in the late 1990’s, a site and program manager at Little Grassy.
Ed’s journey to full-time camping ministry began on a small farm in east central Illinois. He says, “That farm background taught me to think on my own and many times outside of the box. It was there I learned problem-solving skills and a willingness to try things just to see if they will work.” In college Ed majored in business economics and so was equipped to manage mission, people, and resources, including money. When Ed responded to God’s call to pastoral ministry, he discovered that youth ministry was yet another gift and passion. “All of this put together,” he said, “made me feel years ago that God created me for this camping ministry.”
Brenda Harris has been an administrative assistant in the Camping, Retreat, and Youth Ministries office of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference (IGRC) since 2003. Having attended summer camp herself, and then having the privilege of introducing her daughter to IGRC camps, Brenda personally knows the value of camping and has been enabled to focus on the “mission” of camping ministry. Her work includes assisting the camps sites with administrative duties such as registration for summer camp programs, confirmation retreats, youth retreats, and Bible bowls. She prepares payouts for the hundreds of invoices that pass through the camping office monthly, prepares materials for meetings, and assists with marketing and promotional materials, as well as updates to the camping website as needed.
Brenda is a transplant from coastal North Carolina and has lived in Illinois for over 16 years. She is married to Greg and has a daughter, Sarah.