It’s the year of the pivot. Following last summer’s record-breaking attendance of over 7,000 campers and staff, we were forced this year to cancel Family Camp and age-graded camps because of COVID-19. While it was disappointing for our kids and teens, many churches were able to adjust and offer smaller camp experiences at a local level. Some partnered with other churches in their section, like the Central Twin Cities Section “City Camp” at the end of July featuring speaker Terrence Talley.
As a District, we were excited to offer “Friends and Family Retreats” throughout the month of July at LGCC. Small family groups were able to register for a “resort-style” stay. The smaller numbers allowed for social distancing while being able to enjoy the lake and amenities, such as the jump pillow and fire pits.
While there was no programming, we offered a small Saturday night service each week featuring some of our very own MDC pastors. Doug Vagle, Kyle Peterson, Micah MacDonald, Denny Curran, and Dave Simerson brought the Word, while Karsten Olson shared a kids element each week. These services were led by members of the District’s Church Health Team who took turns spending time at Lake Geneva. Message recordings can be found at mnaog.org/media.
Camp might have looked different this summer, but as evidenced by the generosity of individuals and churches in our District, our passion for what God is doing at Lake Geneva remains unchanged.
Normally, the annual revenue from age-graded camps and Family Camp offerings help fund the camp and its varied ministries throughout the year. Around $110,000 is typically raised through Family Camp offerings and annual pledges. When we presented Friends and Family Retreats as an option for those who had previously registered for Family Camp, many of them donated their registration fees! As of the writing of this article, coupled with offerings, over $30,000 of the $110,000 has been donated to cover this year’s LGCC operating costs.
Three years ago, we had $1.7 million in debt on previous land purchases and development. All that remained in 2020 was a balloon payment of $210,000 which represented the final amount due on the ten-acre Olson property (pictured on the front, left of the Event Center) which was purchased years ago. We presented this need during Friends and Family Retreats, and by mid-July generous donors pledged to wipe out the remaining debt!
Supt. Mark Dean and Pastor Clarence St. John had also been raising pledges for the new capital campaign before COVID-19 forced them to postpone meetings. Of the projected $6.8 million needed, over $3.75 million has already been pledged to be given over the next 3-4 years. Additionally, $320,000 of those pledged funds has been given during the past few months. For concept drawings and more information on the expansion plans, visit our website at mnaog.org/lgcc.
We continue to look ahead with expectancy because we know LGCC is a place where lives are transformed! As Supt. Mark Dean stated in a recent letter, “The needs are great, but the cause is greater! Future generations will continue to experience God’s presence in miraculous ways at Lake Geneva.”