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Lutherhaven Ministries News

To Lutherhaven’s dear camper parents and grandparents; former campers and former staff; leaders and former leaders; funders; advisors; champions—generous givers of vision, provision, new vision…

I know you’re extremely busy these days, but please read on. 

These last five months of Lutherhaven’s 75-year history have been our hardest, ever. And not just for us, but for Christian camps like ours across the globe. Not to mention for communities, and families, and schools, and neighborhood businesses, and you…the list is long.

But if you look at the definition of holy—set apart for a purpose—these last five months have perhaps been holy, too. Hard, but holy. I know, we dearly long to understand God’s holy purpose for these hard times, behind and before, because it’s times like these that God’s purpose is downright impossible to see. But I also know, God has set this time apart to pause: for vision… for provision… for re-vision.

In August at Lutherhaven, we made some necessary but unbelievably impossible decisions. We are forced to reduce the equivalent of five full time staff. Nine positions are affected, including layoffs and reductions to half-time or less, and we’re evaluating additional changes every two months.

The unvarnished financial reality:

•Lutherhaven does not have the work for at least the next 6-9 months or longer to sustain our current level of staffing.

•By the end of July, your camps had a budget deficit a quarter million dollars shy of where we’d normally be this time of year.

•We have less than $30,000 program and retreat income on the books for the rest of 2020. Last year this would have been over $235,000.

•We’re anticipating that trend to continue at least to the first half of 2021.

Be assured the affected staff members are being taken care of to the best of our ability with financial and insurance packages to provide some stability through this time. Our ultimate and oft-hard call is to faithfully steward Lutherhaven Ministries through good times and bad; our holy legacy is ensuring campers of every age hear about God’s love through Jesus Christ—for generations of campers to come.

Please, please…grieve with us in this hard time. But with the grieving, continue to join with us.

Because I‘m confident…

•What was possible at Lutherhaven may not be possible for a long time, but…

•Lutherhaven will play a more vital role than ever before in the faith lives of kids, adults, and families, through and beyond coronavirus.

•What was undervalued holds greater value now: retreat, renewal, the outdoors, family, friends, hugs. We saw all that in action this summer (well, not the hugs).

•Lutherhaven continues to offer quality camps, programs, and retreats for youth, families, and groups of all kinds. Keep an eye on our website for safe opportunities to come to camp. 

•This pause to reinvent, recreate, and stretch what we know—what we’ve always done—will lead to an even healthier and more impactful Lutherhaven in the future.

•It’s our relationship of trust in God—and God through you—that strengthens us through the months ahead.

•Lutherhaven’s greatest assets—our magnificent sites, our marvelous facilities, our dedicated leadership, YOU—will remain on the other side of Covid-19. 

Lutherhaven cannot go this alone. You all have a reason why you’ve partnered with us through these past years of growth. And I cannot say this more from my heart: we need you now—and in the months and months and months ahead—more than ever.

We need your time—time sharing our story, time volunteering, time coming to camp, time getting involved in innumerable ways. Time in prayer for our staff affected this week and our leadership team making impossible decisions.

We need your talents. That might be building a picnic table, cooking for thirty, packing mail orders, writing an article, making phone calls, washing sheets, or organizing volunteers.

And we need your treasure. True – with camper and retreat fees at a 40 year-low, your generous provision will carry your camps through to the other side of coronavirus.

Please watch for news from us for tangible ways to get involved. Please reach out with your ideas, suggestions, encouragement, and expertise. And please, really, let us know you’re praying for all our staff, for our leadership team, for hard decisions in the months ahead, for God’s generous vision, provision, new vision…

…as we are praying for you.

Your servant in Jesus,

Bob Baker, Executive Director

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