The following a summary of the reflections that Matt Graybill, Executive Director, shared at the dedication of Tall Pines Fellowship Center on August 30, 2019.
Our theme for the weekend is “God is Faithful.” It’s a fundamental truth about God’s character. He is faithful. It is supported numerous times in scripture and expressed through covenants in the Old testament and prophesy of the coming of Jesus Christ. We see the faith of God’s people as well. One of my favorite passages of scripture is Hebrews 11. It’s commonly known as the “heroes of faith” chapter. By faith Abraham… By faith Noah, and so on.
When I reflect on the reason why we’re here in Tall Pines this morning, it’s to celebrate God’s faithfulness. Not just because we have this new facility. It’s because there is a place like Pine Lake.
Expanding on that chapter of Hebrew, I decided to reflect on the “heros” of camp.
- By faith a group of people met to talk about starting a camp in Nov. 1965
- By faith, the funds were put up to by 74 acres and three horses
- By faith, Family Camp started in 1967
- By faith, the Lodge was dreamed and constructed and changed the trajectory of Pine Lake. That facility is nearing 20 years old.
- By faith, many people have come into relationship with Jesus Christ.
And by faith, in the fall of 2008, Pine Lake launched the “Growing the Pines, Building the Future” capital campaign. If you were at Camp Sale in 2008, you may remember watching the appeal video for the first time. This campaign vision was to expand ministry capacity and construct a new facility, Tall Pines Fellowship Center, to meet the needs of the PLFC Association and other churches in the southeast region. The vision was clear, but there were still questions: 1. Can we (Pine Lake) raise that much? 2. Where will the money come from? 3. Would camp be able to meet its operating expenses? 4. Would other fundraisers suffer? 5. Will this ever be accomplished?
Over the last 10+ years, God has provided answers to each of these questions!
- Funding is complete and $459,000 has been raised, which meets our campaign goal.
- The money has come from many faithful donors, organizations, and PLFC budget surpluses.
- Pine Lake has met and increased its budget each year of the campaign with no shortfalls (42% increase since 2009)
- PLFC has added fundraisers like the 5K Trail Run & and experienced increases in existing events like Camp Sale
- Construction will soon be completed.
By faith this all happened. He is faithful.
Timeline of Construction:
- 2008 – Kickoff of campaign resulting from 2-3 years of long-range assessment and planning the goals is to raise $80,000 for site prep, foundation, & steel shell construction
- Spring/Summer 2011 – Foundation prepared, slab poured, and steel shell erected
- Spring 2012 – Phase II – Framing on Lodging end begins
- 2013 – Plumbing, electric, insulation, and drywall installed in the Spring.
- January 2014 – Volunteers from ON serve for two weeks and finish the first floor lodging for our First guest group to reside there (Midway Baptist Church Youth Group)
- Spring 2015 – Framing on kitchen/office end begins
- Good Friday 2016 – First guest group stays in top floor lodging end (Amor Viviente Church Retreat)
- 2017 – Framing and rough finish on North and South walls of the Meeting/Gym are completed.
- May 2018 – PLFC Staff move into new office space!
- Summer Camp 2019 – Meeting area AC installed & 2 BR apartment ready for occupancy (Suzanne resided there for the summer)
- Week before Labor Day 2019 – Kitchen installation & set up!
- To Come: Meeting/Dining area to be finished & Kitchen appliances installed
A few of many Work Teams & Folks who helped!– Diener Construction, Dale Kanagy, Duane Maust, Amor Viviente, Cliff Maust, Members of Des Allemands Mennonite, Jubilee Youth Group, Jubilee Camp out, Glen & Pat Detwiler, Cal & Shirley Hostetler, Bob Wideman & Co., James & Rachel Metzler, Wayne & Polly Comardelle, Two groups from Ontario who framed, 8th St. Mennonite, & so so many others.
A Vision Realized.
For so long, we only imagined what a finished facility would be able to accomplish for his Kingdom. And because of God’s faithfulness, we’re on the cusp of completing this capital campaign project. It’s can be easy to look back over the course of 11 years of this endeavor and forget all the effort involved. There were intense times of decisions and construction (periods of lamenting), followed by of delays in raising funds, and then those steps repeated. But through it, we see God’s hand in providing people to fund not only this project, but annual operations God provided skilled labor and volunteers to work on the building, as well as many others who prayed, consulted, advised, encouraged, and fed others.
From the outside, this is only a building, but it’s what happens on the inside that counts. The shared mission of reconciliation to God, His creation, & one another is the heartbeat of Pine Lake. It unites Association members, charter churches, campers, thousands of guests, staff, & volunteers in prayer, corporate worship, community, Christian service, and celebration.
And so we celebrate together and dedicate this gift to be used for His glory! Amen!