Rev. Abbie Huff, Spiritual Leader for the Nyack Project, Nyack, NY will be joining us to lead a conversation/study/immersion titled “Meeting Jesus at the Well”.  Come join the community as this passage from the Gospel of John is examined for historical context and cultural baggage and applied our lives today.

28 women came from New York and Rhode Island to delve into this passage and share great conversation with each other.  Lots of walks in the woods on a beautiful day,  Labyrinth walking in the woods, naps and long conversations.  Saturday evening brought a community viewing of “the Red Tent” followed by Sunday morning worship with communion led by Rev. Cathy Surgenor.


On their way home, two of the participants stopped at our farm for fresh vegetables and found this reminder of their time together:


click here for more infoOnline_Invitation_Singles_Page_01


News about The Farm at Holmes:

It is with deep regret that we announce that the Farm at Holmes, our Community Supportethumb_DSCN5966_1024d Agriculture, which has been in operation for the past five years will be discontinued as of September 15, 2016. Unfortunately, community supported agriculture shares have not met goals for the last two years, resulting in a significant financial shortfall in the farm and camp budget.   Holmes Camp and Hudson River Presbytery have invested significant resources in the development and operation of the farm program and facilities but cannot afford to continue in its present form. Learning about food sources and how to grow, weed and harvest items sustainably is important knowledge for our children and we hope to continue an educational program in some form for our summer campers and possibly retreat participants going forward. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 845-878-6383. 

Do you have a Christian Faith to share and love to work with children and youth?  Holmes Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center assembles an outstanding group of young adults to spend a summer in faith sharing and leadership development.

We have positions for camp group counselors, lifeguards, kitchen staff and program specialists.

More information here.

Apply online.

We would love to chat with you about joining our stellar staff team this summer.  Contact Natasha Taylor for a conversation or interview ( ).


“Raising the Scudder Roof”
25th Anniversary Project
Alumni Volunteers
Holmes Presbyterian Camp

On a beautiful weekend in early May 45 volunteers came together to turn an open platform in the Holmes Camp woods into a pavilion that will protect campers from intense sun or heavy rain.

For some this was their 25th year of participation in a annual rite – a weekend when alumni, their family and friends come together to be “at camp”, to reconnect, renew old friendships and meet new family members while working together on a project that will enhance the camp experience for today’s campers. The weekend is one of the ways in which alumni continue to build community and introduce their children to the Holmes Camp. It has succeeded so well that the children refer to each other as camp cousins and often seek to attend summer camp together.

Short video of Dedication Ceremony

Full video of Dedication Ceremony
Presentations by Sang Park, George Varugheuse and Peter Surgenor

Keith-MillerThe projects began after Keith Miller, a young staff alumni, drowned in Florida. Under the initiative of Alice Pulliam, friends gathered at camp to honor him with a project to improve the Lakeside cabin that Keith loved. The following year another alumni, Pete Sandin, who had been co-director of the waterfront with Sang Park, died in a tragic farming accident. Sang and other camp friends felt the need to honor him too, again in a way that would give back to the camp where they had become close. They upgraded the waterfront with a low fence. Don Hostetter, the Executive Director of Holmes, decided to make these workdays an annual event and since then faithful alumni have been coming back. Each year the chosen project has made a great contribution to the quality of summer camp experiences for children, youth and young adult leaders.

Pete-Sandin-front-centerProjects included construction of four sets of “Cedarkirk Tents” at Denton and Robinson, the bell tower at Agape, two Adirondack Shelters for overnight camping, upgrade to “the Train” (water pump house and storage tank), and the “Fireplace Room” restoration at Westminster Lodge, with addition of changing rooms for the waterfront. When Holmes acquired access to a fourth lake the Purple trail was revived and an equipment shed installed. “Shack to Chalet” was an ambitious project to improve Furnald and Edwards cabins (straighten, new windows, bunks, painting and porches). Years ago the original Scudder cabin was removed in preparation for the Alumni Volunteer project of a replacement deck (with accommodations included for eventual roof installation.)

Certain aspects of the Alumni Volunteer weekend remained constant.

  • The planning and preparation are overseen by Paul Verdesi
  • Work on something the camp needs but doesn’t necessarily have resources to complete.
  • Wonderful meals are provided by camp alumnus Mark Ainsworth, a faculty member of the Culinary Institute of America. Holmes Chef Bobby Kraus contributes now too.
  • Volunteers come back from as far away as Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Texas.

Oldest-to-youngest-volunteersOver the years this group has grown. Original volunteers Paul and Brenda Verdesi, Sang Park, Chip Maggio, Chris Burke and Ted Masters still willingly take time to contribute each spring in spite of children’s schedules, graduations and other commitments (including preaching the next day). Spouses such as Chad Turner add their expertise. Friends like Paul Alcorn, Chris and Kathy Perry have joined to contribute their skills and to contribute to Holmes and this community. This year a major contributor is the child of one of the original crew. Keith Coombs was able to arrange a discount on the lumber purchased for the project. It was thrilling to have 45 willing volunteers on May 2nd, but success required the support of many other donors who were able to help with purchase of materials.

Paul-V-and-SangTo recognize the 25th anniversary, the alumni asked for a challenging, especially meaningful project. Consistent volunteer Sang Park offered to lead the planning and fund raising committees of the Raising the Scudder Roof project. For the first time the group raised $21,000 to purchase materials. Planning began early and by the bi-annual Thanksgiving gathering Sang led a power point discussion of the project complete with preliminary architectural drawings, materials list and budget. As always Paul V. undertook the preparation of the site and ensuring that all building materials and safety equipment were on hand. Food and housing for 45 guests were also obtained.

There were many conference calls and planning conversations during the winter and spring. January 1 saw the post New Years crew gathered around the sawmill at Holmes to begin milling logs from our property for use as sheeting boards (under the roofing material). The late winter snows left only a few weeks to transport materials to the Scudder platform in the woods. A small group gathered the last Saturday in April to prepare the site, plan steps and imagine how May 2 would proceed. Another group gathered on Friday May 1 to make sure all was ready. A local contractor agreed to bring a piece of equipment to lift the completed trusses into place.

May-2-work-and-crewOn May 2 the day began with breakfast, distribution of customized construction helmets, safety glasses and ear protection and a safety briefing at the job site. Then teams split up to begin cutting boards, assembling pieces, nailing, drilling holes and tightening bolts. At the same time the artistic crew under the leadership of Alice Pulliam and David Harris was busy working on two cedar pillars for installation on the front side. By 5:00 pm on May 2 this group photo was taken illustrating the truss work completed, the artistic work completed and great smiles of satisfaction on all tired faces. Then it was off to a great dinner in the Agape dining room.   May 3 saw a small but faithful crew assembling to begin installation of sheeting boards. This work was completed on May 9th.

This Holmes camp tradition is one of several that have knit the alumni into a long term relationship that includes original alumni, their spouses, children and even grandchildren. A semi annual Turkey holiday gathering brings families together for a joy filled weekend celebration between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This group also gathers each New Year’s Eve at Holmes to bring in the new year with old and close friends.

2016 will be a memorable year as we celebrate 70 years of ministry at Holmes.

More details here …

What is your story? Adding a story gives Holmes Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center permission to use my story/writing in promotional and celebration materials.

Thanks for contributing to our 70th Anniversary preparations and celebration. Follow this link for more information, plus a form to submit your story.


“May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all.  Then we’ll be a choir – not our voices only, but our lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to God”

Romans 15:5-6 (The Message)








Calling High School Students!

Join us Saturday, April 23, 2016 for a day of engaging conversation while we explore how the intersections of race, LGBTQ, and interfaith issues come together to create our unique society.

This day event (10:00 am – 4:30 pm) will include speakers, small group discussions, teambuilding games and boating (weather permitting).

Fee: $10, includes lunch, snack, and engaging faith programming

Register online today!


AshleyBirtAshley Birt
Ashley Birt is the Director of Christian Education at Rutgers Presbyterian Church in New York, NY. In addition to graduating from Union Theological Seminary, she also holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. She is certified ready to receive a call in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Her interests include the intersections of racial justice, children and youth, interfaith communication, LGBTQ+ issues (particularly the B), and Christianity. Besides church work, Ashley also blogs for Believe Out Loud, serves as a board member for More Light Presbyterians, and does freelance lighting and sound design.



KateJonesCaloneKate Jones Calone
Rev. Kate Jones Calone is the Founder and Director of Open Door Exchange, a mission of the Setauket Presbyterian Church that seeks to rebuild hope for Long Islanders in need by furnishing their homes. In the fall of 2015, she organized an interfaith youth retreat on racial justice that brought together a diverse group of young people from across Long Island for a training on confronting barriers to racial equity. Kate is a member of the Public Issues Committee of the Long Island Council of Churches and the Three Village Interfaith Clergy Association. Prior to her ordination, she was a practicing attorney in the areas of criminal justice and criminal defense.



KatieMulliganKatie Mulligan
The Rev. Katie Mulligan completed her M.Div. at Princeton Theological Seminary and is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She currently serves as a youth and young adult pastor for two churches, working with young people in and around Trenton, New Jersey. She is also a Chaplain at Rider University and the communications director for the United Mercer Interfaith Organization (UMIO). She is a regular blogger at and the author of several published essays, including “Queer” in There’s A Woman in the Pulpit, “A Ministry of Discomfort” in From Each Brave Eye: Reflections on the Arts, Ministry, and Holy Imagination. She is the mother of two sons and three cats and has finally gotten used to winter.


VictorAloyoVictor Aloyo
Victor Aloyo, Jr. is currently the Chief Diversity Administrator and Director of Multicultural Relations at Princeton Theological Seminary. Victor received a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and Sociology from the College of New Rochelle, a Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. He currently serves as the Senior Pastor of two multicultural and multilingual congregations, United Presbyterian Church of Plainfield, NJ and Organizing Pastor of La Iglesia Presbiteriana Nuevas Fronteras. Victor has provided several seminars and conferences on church development in multicultural contexts, and seminars on inclusive excellence to provide a greater conscious of the realities of diversity and inclusive excellence in higher education.

For more information, you can contact Kahea Mueller at

Welcome Natasha Taylor – Summer Camp and Youth Programs Director

We are excited to welcome Natasha Taylor as our new
Summer Camp and Youth Program Director


Some of you will remember Natasha from our summer staff in 2011 and 2012. She has been most recently sharing her skills as a church youth group director and after school programs.

Besides Holmes, Natasha has worked at Presbyterian camps in Iowa (Camp Wyoming), Quebec (Gracefield Christian Camp) and Virginia (Camp Hanover traveling day camps)

Her husband, Nate, is a student at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va.

Natasha has arrived  at Holmes and  continues working on summer staff recruiting and program development.

You can reach Natasha by emailing her She is busy finding great staff prospects for this coming summer – email her if you are interested or know someone who would be great.