The Board of Directors of Olmsted Manor Retreat Center has selected the Rev. Al Hammer, an ordained deacon in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, to become the Center’s executive director, effective July 1. Jody Larson, the current executive director, informed the board last year of his intention to retire in the summer of 2019, after serving 41 years at Olmsted, in Ludlow, PA. A search committee was formed to seek candidates and select a new executive director.
Rev. Hammer is the registrar of the Board of Ordained Ministry in Baltimore-Washington and most recently served as Associate Minister/Chief Operations Officer at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, DC. In his eight years there, he managed church operations, finance, long-range planning, facilities and staff, and led several successful annual stewardship campaigns. He also was instrumental in developing a master plan for renovation of the 110-year-old facility and initiated a successful campaign that generated more than $3 million for the first phase of the project.
Al's call to ministry came through church retreat ministries and he served at camps and as leisure ministries coordinator at churches in South Carolina, Kentucky and Florida, where he served as a diaconal ministry.
He moved to the Baltimore-Washington Conference as minister of administration at Glen Mar UMC in Ellicott City, MD, and played a pivotal role in a study of church ministries and the community to determine if an on-site expansion or a complete relocation would be the most effective way to reach more people. Over the next 12 years, helped to lead the congregation through several capital campaigns, location selection, construction and moving to the new church facility.
Al earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and recreation at Emory and Henry College in Virginia, and an MA degree in Christian Education, specializing in Leisure Ministries, from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio.
Jody Larson, who became the Center’s fourth executive director in 2001 after serving in maintenance and facilities management for 21 years, will continue to live in Ludlow with his wife Marie during his retirement and will assist in the transition.