By Mary Thompson
On Jan. 31 in Lakeland, Florida, the United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries Association awarded the Rev. Randy Pasqua the "National Legacy of Leadership Award" for his distinguished service in camping ministry. This is the highest achievement awarded in camping ministry.
Randy Pasqua served as the executive director of Holston Camp & Retreat Ministries for 22 years. During his tenure, more than 65,000 children and youth attended one of our Holston Conference camps. Those campers participated in communion, had opportunities to make first-time faith commitments, rededicate their lives, and worshipped our Savior throughout the day. The great impact Randy has made in the Holston Conference and for the Kingdom of God would be impossible to measure.
Bishop Dindy Taylor has described Pasqua as a “community builder.” She says that he is able to help those he serves have a true sense of belonging. One of the great joys of her time as bishop is the invitation that he extended to her at the beginning of each summer to commission those persons who serve as counselors and staff at our five conference camps. Every time she leaves that group, she says she has “a tremendous amount of hope for the future of our camps and the future of our church.”
The Rev. Charles Maynard said that Randy’s life has “always been about reaching children and youth for Christ in the wonder of God’s creation.” He shaped the conference’s camp and retreat ministries from its beginnings.
His former administrative director, Ruby Brown, says that he is “kind, understanding, and compassionate. His unwavering devotion to our camping ministry has always served as a bright example to all the camping ministry’s staff. He always worked upon improving and keeping our camping ministry vital, fun and spiritually meaningful for both campers and staff.”
Don Washburn, Camp Lookout director, said that not only was “Randy his supervisor for the past 19 years, he has also been his best friend and mentor." He said he owes any success he has achieved as a camp director to "Randy’s patience, guidance, and love he shares to all.”
Campers and staff were influenced by Randy’s leadership in numerous ways, including the Bible study curriculum that he wrote for all of the camps each summer. Quite a number of campers and camp staff members felt the call to ministry while at a Holston Conference camp. In fact, chances are that you have had a pastor serve your congregation that has worked at a Holston Conference camp.
The Holston Conference has many reasons to be thankful for the life and ministry of Randy Pasqua. Randy has made his life about sharing the love of Christ in the glory of God’s creation. We are so thankful.
Summer camp 2019 registration is open now. Visit www.holstoncamping.com for links to our five Holston camp.
The Rev. Mary Thompson is executive director of Holston Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries.