Fellowship Deaconry Blog

Sharing Updates and Stories from Fellowship Deaconry Ministries

Summer Blog Series Recap

This summer we had a weekly series of conversations with staff members of the Fellowship Deaconry. Thank you for following our interviews! In case you missed any, follow the links below to read and get to know some of our staff who make Fellowship Deaconry Ministries what it is today. We will be resuming this series again for a Winter 2017 Blog Series after Thanksgiving.

  • Emma - Camp Counselor from Australia
  • Chiara - Deaconry Volunteer from Germany
  • Renee - Director of Sunshine Preschool
  • Matt - Hospitality Manager and Ropes Course Manager
  • Sister Ruth - Passionate Gardener and Evangelist
  • Shanti  - Conference Center Manager
  • Sister Maria - Housemother of the Sisters
  • Paul - Food Services Manager


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A Conversation With Emma

This week, we sat down with Emma, one of our summer camp counselor managers for Day Camp Sunshine who comes all the way from Australia.

Where are you from?

I’m from a little town called Evans Head in the eastern side of Australia and I’ve lived there for 27 years.

When did you first come to America?

I first came on a school trip in 2005 where we did an exchange program, and I went to a school in Seattle for a bit. I started coming to America frequently in 2013.

How did you end up here today?

In 2013 I went through an agency called Camp Leaders. Basically you put in an application with this agency and camps take a look at your application. I had an interview with two camps before Day Camp Sunshine and I had to say no to them because they weren’t Christian camps, and my main purpose for coming over to America was for ministry. Day Camp Sunshine came along and interviewed me and now I’m here!

What do you do here?

For the past two years I have been the middler-camp manager. I oversee about 100 kids between the ages 5 and 8 for the summer. I work a staff with about 17 underneath me, and they work directly with the kids. Before that I was a camp counselor and I had the same group of girls for three years.

What are your plans for the future?

At the moment I don’t have any. I’m a qualified teacher - I have a teacher’s degree specializing in early childhood, so there’s potential for me to go back to that. At the moment, my future is in God’s hands.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I live in a small beach town with a lot of sea-life, so I love to go to the beach and going for walks. I love spending time with my family and having coffee with friends. Australia has an awesome coffee culture.

What are some of your favorite movies or TV shows?

I love to watch the Gilmore Girls, The Office, and Friends.

Do you have a favorite scripture?

Psalm 46:10

“Be still and know that I am God.”

I love that one because we use ‘busy’ as an excuse to not spend time with people or God. I say I’m busy all the time but it’s important to draw back and be in God’s presence.

Any leaving thoughts?

It’s tough. You spend so much of your life with these kids - you’re with them everyday for three months of the summer, and I did that for five summers. So on Friday it really hit me when I said goodbye to like 10 of the girls and I lost it. We were talking about memories and how little they were. Then they started crying and I started crying. So I’m really going to miss it. A lot of my heart is here and I think it will always be here. This is where my life basically changed forever. I learned a lot over the past five summers and God has really changed and molded me to who I am today.



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A Conversation With Chiara Ege

This week, we sat down with one of our helpful volunteers all the way from Germany, Chiara Ege.


Where are you from?

I’m from Schiltach, Germany. It’s a small town of about 4,000 people in the black forest of Southern Germany.


How did you end up here?

I went to a conference in Germany looking for something to do after school for a year. There was the Marburger Mission and so I applied. I had to go to Marburg, Germany for an interview, and they made the connection here and told me I could come.


What do you do here?

In the beginning I was just working in the preschool, but then I began helping with housekeeping and the dining room. Right now I’m working with Clyde [Rengulbai] and the Sisters maintaining the guest houses, helping with the dishes and general cleaning.


What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I’m really into the arts. I like singing, fashion, design, reading, and hanging out with my friends.


When did you begin speaking English?

They started teaching us English in the second grade in school, but we didn’t really talk too much. I first came to the United States two years ago and it forced me to talk a little bit more in English, but since I’ve been here [at the Deaconry], I’ve gotten pretty good. I also sing and watch movies in English.


What are your plans for the future?

I’m going to apply for college to do something with art when I get home, but in the meantime I’m going to work. I still want to do mission trips and just travel a lot. I really want to see the world.


What places have you been to in the United States?

I’ve been to Arizona where we visited Phoenix and the Grand Canyon. I’ve also been to Las Vegas and San Diego. In Germany, I’ve always wanted to visit the United States. There’s so much to do in so many states, because in one state you have a desert and the next you have the ocean!


Any leaving thoughts?

I liked it here and I loved the people. I really learned a lot about myself, plus my English got pretty good! Overall, it was a nice experience and I would definitely do it again if I could.

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A Conversation With Matt Bowman


This week we sat down with a newer member of the Deaconry staff, Matt Bowman.

Where are you from?

I’m originally from Blairstown up in Warren County, New Jersey. My parents have a 70 acre hay farm there that I grew up on.


When did you start at the Deaconry?

I started at the Deaconry on May 1st of this year and I officially took over the ropes course on July 1st.


How did you end up here?

Someone told me that the Deaconry was potentially looking to hire, so I sent Executive Director Joel Davis my resume back in January. We began talking and eventually there was an opening and now I’m here.


What is your role here at the Deaconry?

I wear a couple of different hats. I’m the ropes course manager, the hospitality coordinator for retreat guests, and I assist Joel with various other projects.


What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I am an outdoors kind-of guy. I love hunting. In the Fall and Winter I mostly hunt waterfowl, which is like ducks and geese. I also like to go hiking and skiing. I’ve hiked all around the Delaware Water Gap, which is where I grew up. I would love to one day go to some of the national parks out west.


Do you have any favorite scriptures?

Philippians 1:6

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Everyone is somewhere along their journey and nobody has really arrived at the end of their destination. Knowing wherever you’re at, God is working with you.


Any leaving thoughts?

The people working here are really great. I get to work in a couple different departments, so I interact with almost everyone here. I really enjoy being out on the ropes course. I’ve been doing it for a couple of years, but I really started to get into it this past year. Come pop in and visit!




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A Conversation With Sister Ruth Rhenius

For the fourth edition of “A Conversation With,” we sat down with a longtime member here at the Deaconry, Sister Ruth Rhenius.

Where are you from?
I was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, but moved to Germany as a child and lived there for almost 20 years.
How did you end up here at the Deaconry today?

I returned to the United States in 1947, and a week later I was introduced to the Sisters of the Fellowship Deaconry in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Through this contact, I became a Christian and came to know that God had a purpose for my life. The hymn “Trust and Obey” by John H. Sammis attracted me to the ministry as a servant of God. I then started at the Deaconry in July of 1950.
What is your role here at the Deaconry?
I learned to submit myself to Jesus in every situation. Whether it be youth and children’s ministries, translation and language ministries, evangelism or teaching the Gospel, I’m a jack of all trades!
What are some of your hobbies and interests?
I enjoy sowing the seed, cultivating, and harvesting! My favorite spot to go would be Mt. Camelback, Pennsylvania. What a view!
What is your favorite scripture?
Matthew 6:33

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
Any leaving thoughts?
May the Lord make me a blessing!
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