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New Director selected for Mount Eagle Retreat Center


Mike " Sarge" Leonard selected as new Mount Eagle executive director
The board of trustees for Mount Eagle Retreat Center, the United Methodist ministry near Clinton, Ark., has named Mike “Sarge” Leonard as the center’s new executive director.
Leonard will succeed the Rev. Lu Harding, who is retiring at the end of 2014.
Leonard has worked in camping and retreat ministries for 10 years, and is currently pursuing certification in Camping and Retreat Ministry from Methodist-related Drew Theological School. He also is a certified Lay Servant in the UMC. He has served on staff at two Missouri Conference camps, including more than seven years as site director of Camp Jo-Ota in northeast Missouri. Jo-Ota provided summer camps as well as year-round retreats for youth and adults. Leonard’s wife, Marietha, retired early from her teaching career to work alongside him in camping ministry.
“We look forward to our next chapter that God has placed before us,” Leonard said. “Ecclesiastes 3 talks about a time for everything, and our time at Camp Jo-Ota is complete. We look forward to our time in Arkansas as it begins at Mount Eagle.”
The Rev. David Fleming chaired the search committee, which began its work in February. Their process included a focused retreat in April, as well as in-depth interview time with top candidates, all held on-site at Mount Eagle. The search committee included Mount Eagle board members and others added to broaden diversity and perspective.
“We talked about what has gone well during Lu Harding’s tenure that we want to preserve, as well as what our needs might be in the future,” Fleming said. “This is an excellent opportunity for us to move forward by faith.”
The Leonards are preparing to move to Mount Eagle in early December to begin a time of orientation and training led by Lu and John Harding before Lu’s retirement.