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Claggett Center Names Co-Executive Directors

February 28, 2018

(BALTIMORE, February 28) Lisa Marie and James Ryder are the new Co-Executive Directors of The Claggett Center of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. They begin their duties on the first of May.

Lisa Marie and James Ryder were married in Dickerson, Maryland in 2011 and became parents in January 2018, when their son, Fletcher, was born. They both currently serve at Camp McDowell in the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, and are members of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Jasper, Alabama.

In their new roles, Lisa Marie will oversee administration and James will oversee daily operations, sharing the Executive Director position. They will live onsite at The Claggett Center.

"Lisa Marie and James bring incredible energy, grace, and vision to the ministries of The Claggett Center," said the Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton, Bishop of Maryland, on making the appointment. "Their leadership experience with camp and conference centers, and their prior careers in non-profits and outdoor education draw together an array of gifts for our ongoing commitment to the year-round work of The Claggett Center, which is the geographical and spiritual heart of our diocese."

The Rev. Dina van Klaveren, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and former Director of Summer Camps at Claggett adds: "The board recognizes a collaboration and professionalism in Lisa Marie and James that offers stable and growth-inducing leadership for the Center. Throughout the search process, we sought a person of lively, contagious Christian faith who can relate to people of all ages--who also has a conviction that he or she is called to ministry at Claggett, specifically. We are blessed to have found two persons to serve together in this role. We are invigorated by their passion and creativity, and we look forward to broadening the scope of Claggett's ministry with them in the years ahead."

"This is where we feel called to continue serving God through camp and conference ministries," said James Ryder. "The Claggett Center has an impressive facility with a dedicated staff, incredible location, and promising future."

"We are eager to return to an area we call home and settle into the Claggett, Frederick, and Diocese of Maryland communities," Lisa Marie Ryder said. "We met at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and spent many weekends hiking and climbing Sugarloaf Mountain and exploring the beauty of this part of Maryland. I look forward to getting to know the many people who utilize, support, and pray for the ministries of The Claggett Center."

Lisa Marie Ryder is currently the Director of the Alabama Folk School at Camp McDowell, where she works with the board of directors in offering 52 classes annually in banjo, plein air painting, blacksmithing, and more. James Ryder is the Conference Center Coordinator at Camp McDowell, managing the day-to-day operations of a 340-bed conference and retreat center that serves over 15,600 people each year on 1,200 acres. Prior to their current positions at Camp McDowell, Lisa Marie and James served as Co-Directors of Camp Latgawa, a ministry of the United Methodist and Episcopal denominations in southern Oregon.

Prior to camp and conference ministry, Lisa Marie Ryder was the Manager of Visitor Services at the National Children's Museum in Washington, D.C. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Art from Eureka College in Illinois and her Master of Arts in Teaching in Museum Education from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Lisa Marie grew up in the Diocese of Indianapolis as a camper and counselor at Waycross Camp and Conference Center in Brown County, Indiana.

James Ryder worked as a Press Assistant for the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, Instructor for Calleva Outdoors of Dickerson, MD, and as a high school civics teacher and cross country coach at Ashe County High School in West Jefferson, NC, prior to camp and conference ministry. He also brings experience in climbing, biking, outdoor programs, archery, and construction. He received his Bachelor of Science from Appalachian State University in Social Science Secondary Education, and a Master of Professional Studies in Political Management from The George Washington University. James was raised in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and grew up attending Camp Caroline in North Carolina. 

The Claggett Center is a multi-generational camp and conference facility owned and operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. It is located in rural Buckeystown, Maryland. Learn more: http://www.claggettcenter.org/