As part of LOM’s recognition program, the Manlove-Howells Leadership Award was established in 2017. The Manlove-Howells Leadership Award is given each year to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in Christ’s Church through the field of outdoor ministry. It recognizes those who have provided visionary insight, inspired collaborative efforts among colleagues, and offered valuable guidance to current and future outdoor ministry leaders. In its first year, the award was give to the two namesakes of the award.
Jerry Manlove served as the Director of Outdoor Ministries for the American Lutheran Church. His award was presented at the 2017 LOM Conference. Margie Fiedler, executive director of Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp, introduced him and told about her relationship with Jerry Manlove. In accepting his award, Manlove said he is confident in outdoor ministries’ future. “I am more excited now about the future of camping in this church than I have ever been,” Manlove said.
At that same event, Mark Burkhardt, former director of ELCA Outdoor Ministries and current LOM board member, introduced Paul Howells. Burkhardt spoke of his relationship with the former Outdoor Ministry Director for the Lutheran Church in America. Howells couldn’t attend the conference, but accepted via video. Howells talked about the importance of outdoor ministry and who leads us in this work. “We need to remember whose we are,” Howells said in his speech.
On January 12, 2018, in Frederick, PA, LOM physically presented Paul with his award. Don Johnson, LOM executive director, presented the award at a luncheon at Paul’s retirement living community. Prior to the luncheon, friends and family gathered to greet Paul. After eating, many shared stories of how Paul affected their lives.
Pastor Conrad B. Youse, former executive director of the Lutheran Camping Corporation of Central Pennsylvania, shared two fond stories of Paul. He told of the annual volleyball game at the national conference and how Paul would wrench up the emotion at that game by yelling, “Kill, Kill!” One game got a little heated and Paul used the opportunity to teach about conflict management. Youse said it was through that experience that he learned about the importance of resolution. “Conflict is an opportunity to people to sit down and work out their differences,” Youse said.
In presenting the award, Don Johnson showed appreciation for the leadership Paul provided during the decades that he served as Director of Outdoor Ministries for the Lutheran Church in America. Don recalled that Paul paved the way for bringing outdoor ministry into a prominent place upon the formation of the ELCA. “One of the legacies that Paul left to our church is that he saw the merger coming and provided opportunities for us to do things together. The legacy is now we don’t even know who is formerly LCA or ALC,” Johnson said.
Jerry Manlove and Paul Howells were given prints of paintings by Paul Oman, an artist who is known widely throughout the LOM network. Jerry was given a painting of Inspiration Point at Outlaw Ranch (SD); Paul was given a painting of Rainbow Trail (CO).
Paul Howells died ten days later on January 23, 2018, one day before his 89th birthday. You can watch his video acceptance speech below.