Outdoor Ministry

Outdoor Ministry of the Penn Central Conference (PCC) has had a rich history for churches and its members for decades. Through a variety of opportunities, events, and programs, people have grown in faith, discovered what it means to be a Christian, and have uniquely felt love and acceptance in the outdoors setting. Being in the woods, fishing in a pond, hiking, sleeping under the sky, climbing a ropes course, catching fireflies, cooking over an open fire, sitting around in a lodge, or singing around a campfire are special heartwarming memories of connecting with others and with God. Without question, outdoor ministry is an integral part of many people’s faith formation and church experience.

PCC has been fortunate to have had Hartman Center – our camp, conference, and retreat center – as the safe and sacred place to go and be filled by the Holy Spirit, feel confident in beliefs, and also respected (and encouraged) to ask questions. After 56 years of faithful outdoor ministry at Hartman Center, in June 2020, the PCC Board of Directors made the decision to sell the property.

So now what? To continue our strong legacy of outdoor ministry and in the spirit of what Hartman Center embodied, the Conference has partnered with Lutheran Camping Corporation (LCC) and the Lower Susquehanna Synod of the Lutheran church (ELCA). LCC has three retreat & camp facilities: Camp Nawakwa (near Gettysburg), Camp Kirchenwald (near Mount Gretna), and The Wittel Farm (in Elizabethtown). All three sites offer summer camp, retreats, events, and volunteer opportunities for all ages throughout the year.

In addition to the information provided here on this Penn Central website, more details can be found on the Lutheran Camping Corporation website: www.lutherancamping.org.
Contact Anne Rankin, PCC Outdoor Ministry Liaison (annerankin524@gmail.com), if you are interested in being involved with outdoor ministry or if you have additional questions about Lutheran Camping Corporation.

For a general but comprehensive one-stop overview about Outdoor Ministry within Penn Central Conference, click here.

Upcoming Events


  • Full printable list of event here.
  • Events and programs at The Wittel Farm and Camps Kirchenwald and Nawakwa!

  • CHICKEN & WAFFLES at Nawakwa

    Sunday, January 16 from Noon-2:00 p.m.

    Spend a Sunday at camp with a delicious home-made chicken and waffles meal. Bring your sleds if there’s snow! There is no cost for this meal, but a free will offering will be taken.

    For more information and to register, visit:

  • WINTER FUN DAYS at Kirchenwald

    Sundays, January 16 and February 20 from 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

    Bring your family or youth group and enjoy an afternoon on Kirchenwald’s award-winning toboggan run, ice-skating on the lake, or drinking hot chocolate in the lodge.

    For more information and to register, visit:
    January 16 Event

    February 20 Event

  • CAMPPERSON MEETINGS & TRAINING in-person & online

    In-Person Meeting at Kirchenwald and Nawakwa: Jan 16 at 2:00 p.m.
    Zoom Meeting: January 18 from 7:00-8:00 p.m.
    Online training is available from January 16-31, 2022 at


    Calling all CampPersons and people who would like to be a CampPerson for your church! The Lutheran Camping Corporation is an extension of your ministry in the local congregation. As a CampPerson, you will help inform those in your congregation about events and opportunities at the different sites: Kirchenwald, Nawakwa, and The Wittel Farm. [Basically, you will take the information I send in emails like this one and make sure it gets passed on to your pastor, secretaries, and members in your church!] *Added Bonus* Every summer camper from a congregation with a CampPerson receives a $20 discount on their week long registration!

    For more information and to register, visit:

  • Summer Camp Open House

    Sunday, March 20 and Sunday, April 10 2:00-4:30 at Kirchenwald and Nawakwa

    Meet some of the Summer Camp Staff
    Take a tour of camp
    $10 gift certificate for the camp store to every brand new camper!!

    For more information:
    Summer Camp Open Houses

  • A Lenten Day Apart at The Wittel Farm

    Saturday, March 12, 2022 9am – 3pm

    Begin your Lenten journey to Easter by joining us for a day apart.

    Casual, comfortable clothing will be appropriate. A $15 registration fee covers program and meal costs.

    Register at LutheranCamping.org or ny call the Camping Office at 717-677-8211 by March 4.

    For more information:

  • A Spring Quilting Retreat at Camp Kirchenwald

    Friday, March 18 – Sunday, March 20, 2022

    A gathering of women to share fellowship and talents.

    Cost of the full weekend (Fri-Sun) is $165.
    Two days (Fri-Sat or Sat-Sun) is $100.
    One day (Sat, 9am-4pm) id $60.

    Register by March 11

    Registration forms are available at LutheranCamping.org or ny calling the Camping Office at 717-677-8211

    For more information:

Consider Being A Cheerleader For Outdoor Ministry!

Do you like to be outdoors?

Do you appreciate fresh air, hiking in the woods, diving into water or watching it glisten in the sun, hearing birds chirp and seeing wildlife scurry around, or watching as the clouds roll in?

Do you value past outdoor ministry experiences?

When you are in nature, do you feel connected to the wonders of God’s creation in a unique and special way?

Do you still keep in touch with – or think about – a person or a group of people, who you met at an event, camp, or a retreat?

Do you just like to get away and escape the hubbub of everyday life?

What memories do you have of being filled with wonderful, uplifting, and life-giving moments while in the woods, on the water, at the mountain top, swinging from ropes, sleeping in a cabin, or singing around the fire pit?

If any of these prompts stir a desire to be in that place or to relive those moments again, I invite you to consider being a representative “cheerleader” from your church for the outdoor ministry partnership between Penn Central Conference & the Lutheran Camping Corporation. Really anyone can do it…even if you don’t want to go to camp or be in the woods! It’s easy…and don’t worry, you’re not really called a cheerleader; the Lutheran Camping Corporation calls someone in this role a “CampPerson.”

Want to know more about what it means to be a CampPerson?

It means you would:

  • Serve as a liaison between your home church, me, and the Lutheran Camping Corporation to help get information out about upcoming events, summer camp, and other opportunities at Nawakwa, Kirchenwald, and the Wittel Farm
  • Provide resources to your church that promote outdoor ministries at the Lutheran Camping Corporation sites

What would you be asked to do?

  • Attend one virtual informational session to learn about things like the facilities, where to find event information & resources, and to meet the contacts at Lutheran Camping Corportation.
  • Encourage (and recruit!) people from your church to attend and participate in events and summer camp
  • Distribute information about summer camp as well as year-round events
  • Help schedule a Camp Sunday at your church to help promote outdoor ministries. Lutheran Camping Corporation staff are more than happy to come to churches for worship services or Sunday School. They are willing to preach, do a children’s sermon, share a temple talk, speak during the Sunday School hour, or anything else! If your church prefers a recorded video to share with members, they can provide that as well.

What would your church and you get out of having a CampPerson?

  • DISCOUNTS — All kids who sign up for camp from a church with a CampPerson will get a discount at registration
  • CONNECTIONS — You will make connections with others through outdoor ministry support and involvement
  • RELATIONSHIPS — You will meet new people, make new friends, and build relationships with others who share an appreciation for time spent outdoors

You can also find more information on the Lutheran Camping Corporation website here and a flyer outlining the role of CampPerson here.