Think Outside: no box required at Camp Hope

outdoor benches facing cross

Hope Conference & Renewal Center, the outdoor ministry of the Eastern District, is preparing for a summer season in which campers can appreciate the beauty of God’s creation, nature and spending time outdoors. Participants in all camps will be encouraged to “think outside,” even without a box.

Located just outside of Hope, New Jersey, Hope Conference Center offers a special time for campers who have just completed grade 1 through age 21. All camps include time to explore a program theme; free time for swimming, boating, recreation, crafts or nature activities; evening vespers and campfires; singing; making new friends and much more.

This year, Pre-Primary and Middler Conferences will be sharing a week at camp, and the two camps will be cooperating to look for “Superheroes in the Bible.” The theme of Senior High Conference is “Get Connected,” connecting with ourselves, others around us, God and the larger Moravian world. 

Special interest camps

There are camps for special interests as well. Boys and girls in grades 6 through 10 who want to learn to fish, or to improve their skills, can attend Fishing Camp, where they will learn about equipment, bait and lures, and spend a lot of time on the lake or shore. Campers who have completed grades 3 through 6 can come to Swimming Camp, where they learn new skills and strokes, taught by the Hope Center Aquatics Team. During program time this year they will hear about a different Christian athlete every day. Times of bible study and worship are included in all of the special interest camps.

The specialty camp for performers, Musical Theater Camp, gives campers in grades 5-9 a taste of all aspects of live performance, from singing and choreography to backstage crew. The week will culminate in two live performances of Fiddler on the Roof, Jr., a version of the Broadway play created especially for younger performers. The performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 19, and 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 20, are open to the public. Tickets will be available before each performance.

What’s new?

A new and improved sand volleyball court awaits the campers, as well as refurbished basketball hoops and new basketball equipment for smaller campers. The Couch Memorial Pool will be ready, as well as the canoes and the lakefront of Little Silver Lake. Thanks to the generosity of Emmaus Moravian Church, there are new life vests for boating activities. The outdoor vesper site overlooking the lake and one looking at the camp woods are being prepared and wood is stacked for the coming campfires. The Environmental Education Center is planning some new activities and themes during camp programs or free time.

A new chef and sous chef in the camp kitchen will be serving the great food that campers look forward to in the dining hall. They can accommodate vegetarian, vegan, gluten- or lactose-intolerant diets and other special dietary needs, as long as the camp is informed in advance.

Other camp opportunities

Even if you are no longer in school, or not even Moravian, Hope Center has a place for you. Pastors and adult lay persons can use their talents as counselors, nurses, program leaders and role models.  Campers are encouraged to bring a friend with them to camp, regardless of their religious affiliation. For those who need it, financial aid may be available; contact your pastor or Hope Center.

And for those over 21 who miss the opportunity to attend camp, we now offer more retreats for adults. Intro to Mission with the NorthEast Moravian Disaster Response team in May will teach personal skills needed for service and mission trips. Women who love to sew, whether on a quilt or on something else, are invited to attend Quilt Camp in October. If there is interest in a corresponding men’s retreat, let us know and we will work on scheduling one. There are also plans for a fall retreat focusing on not-the-usual means of prayer.

Online registration available

Hope Conference Center now offers online registration for both camps and retreats, making it possible for campers and parents to register, fill out documents and pay with a credit card, all online. Go to the “youth camps” or “specialty camps and retreats” pages at and click on the “Register Here” button. Volunteer staff can also apply and fill out documents online by going to the “volunteers” page of the camp website.

Think outside (the box) this summer and come experience Camp Hope for yourself. Registrations for camps are being accepted now, with an Early Bird Discount available for those who register by May 15.  For more info or assistance with online registration, contact Hope Center at (908) 459-4435 or [email protected]

Susan M. Dreydoppel is Center Director of Hope Conference & Renewal Center, the outdoor ministry of the Moravian Church, Eastern District. She is a member of Schoeneck Moravian Church in Nazareth, PA and a lay member of the Provincial Elders Conference.

Moravian Camp Dates for 2019

Hope Conference & Renewal Center

Fishing Camp
June 18 – 22
Dean: Bob Wingrove
Jack Boyd, Chaplain

Primary Conference
June 30 – July 6
Dean: Kerrian Simpson
Rev. Bevon White, Program

Pre-Primary Conference
July 7 – 10
Dean: Shannon Swingle
Rev. Rebecca Sisley, Chaplain

Middler Conference
July 7 – 13
Deans: Rt. Rev. Blair Couch,
Rev. Sayward Lippincott

Swim Camp
July 14 – 20
Dean: Rev. Tammie Rinker

Musical Theater Camp 
July 14 – 20
Dean: Sarah Hriniak
Rev. Otto Dreydoppel, Chaplain 

Jr. High Conference
July 21 – 27
Dean: Rev. Jodie Harney

Senior High Conference
July 28 – August 3
Deans: Chelsey Mancuso and Maddie Brader
Rev. Rebecca Sisley, Program


On Memorial Day, May 27, Hope Center invites EVERYONE in the Eastern District (and any other Moravian who might be in the area) to a free Memorial Day Church Picnic, in appreciation to the congregations of the Eastern District for their support. Come experience Hope Center as you enjoy the swimming pool, fishing and boating on the lake, games and relaxation. The pavilion and grill are available for your picnic. Bring your own food and lawn chairs. The picnic runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.–come when you can, leave when you must.