Posts Categorized: Redwood Society

God Knew All Along!

Posted by & filed under Kindling, Redwood Society, Stories of Ministry.

Have you ever had a moment where you realized God had been working “behind-the-scenes” for years without you even knowing it? I certainly have, and last fall at Mount Hermon we experienced one of those God moments that only He could have orchestrated. 

Last summer a couple came to us expressing interest in purchasing two homes for Mount Hermon. It was their desire that we would use these homes for staff housing. We were overwhelmed and so thankful. We identified two perfect houses close to the Conference Center, but there was a slight problem: the homes needed some work, and one of them needed a lot of work. 

After a careful walk-through by our maintenance department, we determined that the needed work would come to about $150,000. That’s a lot of money, and we didn’t quite know where it was going to come from. But God knew all along. 

A number of years ago, Betty Joseph and her husband Bill made the decision to include Mount Hermon in their will.

They were members of the Mount Hermon Redwood Society. Although I never knew Betty and Bill, I know that they must have loved Mount Hermon deeply.

Bill went home to be with the Lord a number of years ago and Betty graduated to be with the Lord in April of 2015. We received notice of a gift from their estate last fall and I remember the day we received the gift. In the midst of this exciting time when we needed about $150,000, guess how much Betty and Bill blessed Mount Hermon with through their stewardship? $145,000! 

Do you think God knew those many years ago that through Bill and Betty’s careful estate planning He would provide for this specific need at this specific time? I absolutely do, because our God is a BIG GOD!

I am so grateful for each and every ministry friend who has included Mount Hermon in their wills.

Bill and Betty’s story is just one of the many examples of how God uses these gifts to meet very specific and significant ministry needs. 

Have you and your family been blessed by the ministry of Mount Hermon? I encourage you to prayerfully consider putting Mount Hermon in your estate plan. I believe the Lord already knows how He will use your gift to bless so many. 

The Redwood Society exists to thank those who have included Mount Hermon in their will or estate plans. For more information, please contact me at 831.430.1243 or

By J.R. Loofbourrow
Vice President of Advancement

Incredible Generosity

Posted by & filed under Giving, Kindling, Redwood Society, Stories of Ministry.

For Bill Ives, nothing was more important than family. He was the proud father of three children and eight grandchildren, and his favorite thing to do was spend time with them. Bill’s Mount Hermon story started like so many others: an invitation from a family member. His daughter Cathy and her husband Gary began coming to Family Camp around 15 years ago. After telling their family about the incredible experience they had, everyone decided to join in.

Since Bill knew this would mean a week of dedicated time with his kids and grandkids, he was excited to come!

For the last decade, Mount Hermon served as their family gathering place, where Bill’s son from Colorado and his daughters from Atlanta and Piedmont gathered each year with their whole families. Bill was not a church-goer and didn’t talk a lot about God. Cathy remembers the ten years they came to family camp vividly, noting that Dad loved coming to Mount Hermon and spending time with his family. He was at every session, engaged and excited to be there. Some of his favorite times were meeting up with the men in the family for early morning coffee on the Dining Hall porch, riding the train to the beach, and relaxing on the meadow.

A couple of years ago, Bill’s health began to deteriorate, and his children encouraged him to re-evaluate his estate plans. At that time he made the decision to include Mount Hermon. Bill’s daughter Stephanie shared this about her father:

“Dad modeled incredible generosity. The kind of generosity that didn’t seek to attract attention or get credit. He delighted in giving generously. He didn’t talk about it, he didn’t lecture us about it. He just modeled unselfish generosity. He had the perfect combination of contentment and generosity. Can you imagine what the world might be if everyone was like that?” Sadly, Bill graduated to be with Jesus in February. Stephanie also shared this precious memory from Bill’s final days: Dad didn’t talk about it much, but he believed in God. He spent his last days on a ventilator in Intensive Care going in and out of consciousness. After five days when the ventilator came off, we all crowded around as he seemed eager to tell us something. His voice was weak, he could only say a couple words at a time, but he said, “Jesus said I got you.” And then “Jesus loves us. Jesus loves all of us.” Dad knew where he was going and we had the incredible blessing of having him tell us that because of Jesus we get to go too.

We are incredibly grateful for Bill’s life and love for his family and Mount Hermon. The legacy he left Mount Hermon will minister to campers for decades to come. Bill’s gift comes at a pivotal time, as we are in need of funds to begin the Redwood Camp renewal. Because of Bill, thousands of kids who come to Redwood Camp in the days to come will encounter Jesus and experience His transformational love. Thank you, Bill!

Redwood Society The Gift

Posted by & filed under Giving, Kindling, Redwood Society, Stories of Ministry.

On February 2, long-time Mount Hermon friend Paul Stephan went to be with the Lord. A few weeks later, we received word from his daughter Debbie that her parents had remembered Mount Hermon in their estate plans. Here’s what Debbie told us:

“My mom, Betty, started coming to Mount Hermon at a very young age. My father, Paul, accepted Christ at the age of 32 at First Baptist Church…and that is where my parents met. While dating, they spent many evenings at Mount Hermon attending various events. It was at Mount Hermon that my dad told my mom for the very first time that he loved her.

After they were married, Mom & Dad became extremely involved with Overseas Crusades mission, and as a family we attended EVERY annual OC Conference at Mount Hermon until it ended in 1983. Wonderful memories!!

We also loved attending many summer Sunday morning worship services through the decades, along with Saturday evening summer concerts, and Christmas concerts/dinners at Mount Hermon.

Mount Hermon is so special to us all because Christ is at the very center. Our family has always been at complete rest at Mount Hermon. To us, it is a foretaste of Heaven!

Mount Hermon truly puts Christ at the very center, and I feel confident that my parents’ gift will be used to both glorify God and to spread the Gospel. If other families and children can have even just a taste of what I’ve had at Mount Hermon, then that puts a smile on my face!”

We are thankful for the legacy Paul and Betty have left at Mount Hermon. Their gift is enabling life-transforming ministry to continue today and tomorrow!

If you have questions about estate planning or would like to learn more about the Redwood Society, please contact J.R. Loofbourrow at 831.430.1244

Learn About Redwood Society

Redwood Society Creates a Family Legacy

Posted by & filed under Alumni, Giving, Kindling, Redwood Society.

My parents, Doug and Charlotte Jenks, met at Mount Hermon and lived as followers of Jesus throughout their lives. With a vision to thrive in their own faith and see their children embrace the faith they cherished they were consistently engaged with their church and with the ministry of Mount Hermon.

My sisters (Marilyn and Liz) and I have often reflected on the many ways our parents influenced us towards embracing the Lord they loved. They did this with both words and actions. With words they always encouraged us to talk about anything, ask important questions and pay attention to the things that matter the most. With actions they modeled the faith they proclaimed. We were never confused about what our parents valued most deeply.

Doug and Charlotte Jenks were generous people. I remember their telling me about their joy in being able to give to the Lord through our church and Mount Hermon. My dad was the first person to talk with me about money from a broad and biblical perspective. He wanted his children to avoid the dangers of greed, envy, fear or pride that often accompany a misguided perspective of money. He talked with me about having healthy habits around giving, spending and saving. Our parents wanted us to experience the reality of generous living as a response to loving a generous God.

This influence continued in an amazing way as my parents neared the end of their lives, entered heaven and surely experienced the reality that “We brought nothing into the world, and we take nothing out of it” (I Timothy 6:7).


Cancer took Doug Jenks’ life in 1999, but it did not take away his vision be a faithful follower of Jesus and a Godly influence for his family. I remember my father sharing with me that I did not need to worry that his death would create financial confusion for his family. They had taken the needed steps to prepare for the financial changes associated with his passing. Then he shared with me their vision to joyfully share a final financial gift to the Lord whenever my mom would join him in heaven. He wanted me to hear this from him, that a legacy gift was a way they could honor and thank the Lord who had given them so much. He also said they wanted this legacy gift to be a final and specific teachable moment for his children.

When my mom passed away in 2012 we were able to facilitate our parents’ wishes and relay a gift from their estate to Mount Hermon and their church. Our parent’s final financial gifts to ministries that cherished their most precious values allowed them to express in their death what they had proclaimed throughout their lives. I will never forget this powerful expression of faith and my parents’ wise intentionality to give in this way. This was a beautiful and teachable moment indeed! My parents’ legacy gifts were a final kingdom investment in ministries they loved and a powerful influencer encouraging their children to continue to follow Jesus in a humble and generous way.

For info about how you can be a part of The Redwood Society visit or email

Parallel Histories

Posted by & filed under Associates, Giving, Kindling, Redwood Society.

RWS-GlennStewartTwo long histories coincide in the life of Redwood Society member Glenn Stewart of San Carlos: Mount Hermon, and the U.S. Army.

At age 89, Glenn is one of the longest surviving members of the  Army during World War II, in a group known as Company L of the 96th Infantry Deadeyes Association. Glenn and his comrades liberated Leyte in the Philippine Islands, then headed for Okinawa, site of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific. He came back with a Purple Heart, among several other awards. The group still meets annually, and Glenn has made most of the reunions through the decades.
Glenn turns 90 in November.

But even before this heroic service, Glenn and his family were heavily involved in the life of Mount Hermon. His father first came here in 1917, and served three terms as president of the Board of Directors. Glenn became a Director himself in 1972, and has been active at Mount Hermon, attending family camps and other events with his children and grandchildren for five decades.

Glenn and his wife, Rita, were married for 51 years, when she was killed in a car accident in 2009. She had been a school teacher, and together Glenn and Rita were very involved at Peninsula Covenant Church in Redwood City, where Glenn has served as head usher since 1976. He also lists 50 years of being “chief budget and business meeting heckler,” which was reflective of his many years as a CPA and business administrator.

He is known for a steel–trap mind for dates and details, and for pithy statements he lives by, such as…

“My philosophy is I never meet a stranger, I just meet people I need to get better acquainted with.”

If you need to know anything about military history, ushering for Billy Graham Crusades, or the details of Mount Hermon’s history, including doing the canopy tour at age 84, just ask Glenn Andrew Stewart. He’s got nearly nine decades of great stories and memories.

If you have remembered Mount Hermon in your estate planning, as Glenn Stewart has done, thank you and please contact David Talbott for details on joining The Mount Hermon Redwood Society.


Learn More about the Redwood Society




“Who’s the older gentlemen eating with a table full of teenagers?”

Posted by & filed under Giving, Kindling, Redwood Society.

JohnWattsandJosh“That’s John Watts: he’s a magnet for kids. He seems to be able to identify with their interests in short order. And he has a fascinating story on almost any topic.”

That dining hall scene fits with the biographer who said that John dedicated his life to serving others. Most of the teens wouldn’t know John was one of the nation’s foremost authorities on planned giving for non–profit organizations– helping individuals be the best stewards of God’s resources.

And serving others is what John had in mind when he recommended we establish The Redwood Society, three years ago, to honor those who have remembered Mount Hermon in their estate giving. He inaugurated a similar program at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, where he worked for over a dozen years.

John WattsJohn first visited Mount Hermon in 1960, and in the intervening years helped thousands as a pastor, a consultant or employee for dozens of non–profit organizations from The Navigators to the College of William and Mary.

He capped it off with three summers of involvement in seminars and consulting at Mount Hermon as we established The Redwood Society. He was married to his wife, Patty, for 62 years. Patty threw herself into volunteer work in the Advancement office each of these last summers.

John’s sense of humor, keen mind, and servant’s heart endeared him to everyone, not just to the teens who often filled his dinner table. He will be missed.

For info about how you can be a part of The Redwood Society visit or email

“Mount Hermon is our sixth child.”

Posted by & filed under Giving, Kindling, Redwood Society.

OconnersKaren O’Connor had been writing, teaching, and speaking for over 20 years when she was tapped to speak regularly at Mount Hermon’s annual Christian Writers Conference in the 1980s. She has most recently directed our mentoring tracks during the Head Start sessions.

The author of over 20 books, in recent years she has focused on writing humor for seniors, including the best-seller, Help, Lord! I’m Having a Senior Moment. A special recognition award for writing and mentoring honored her at the 2002 Writers Conference, and her shelves are lined with plaques and awards from a variety of organizations.

Her husband, Charles Flowers, has had his own ministry at Mount Hermon for the last eight years. Nearly every week, without fail, Charles comes to spend an hour on the grounds, praying for the work of Mount Hermon.

When he told a friend about praying for his six children, the friend said, “I thought you only had five children.” “Well, we do, but Mount Hermon is our sixth child,” Charles replies with a grin.

Charles knows his days are numbered, as he received a pacemaker in September, and was recently diagnosed with terminal metastatic cancer in the liver. Under care of Hospice, he reports he has no pain. Nothing seems to keep Karen and Charles from being very involved in Mount Hermon.

Not only do they pray, they give and plan for the future. As members of our Associates family, they’ve also made provision in their estate planning for Mount Hermon, which qualified them for charter membership in the Redwood Society.


Karen OConnor, a long-time Writers faculty member, has coordinated the Head Start and Morning Mentoring Nonfiction Track for many years until she stepped down for this year to care for her hubby, Charles OConnor. He passed through to Heaven March 6th. His ministry to Mount Hermon will be deeply missed. We are rejoicing about his presence and healed body in Heaven.