August 26, 2017
To the Wider United Church of Christ in Ohio, Northern Kentucky and West Virginia
The Board of Directors of the Conference received a carefully prepared and respectfully presented appeal to reverse the decision made in February, 2017 to sell Pilgrim Hills camp. Materials prepared by those making the appeal were distributed in advance for Board study.
At the heart of the request for appeal was a conviction that information gathered since the February decision suggests that estimates for repairs at Templed Hills had been understated and anticipated capital improvements at Pilgrim Hills had been overstated. It was believed the best interests of the Conference to continue an outdoor ministry were better served by Pilgrim Hills than Templed Hills.
After extensive discussion, the following motion was presented:
- That the Board of Directors reverse the decision to sell Pilgrim Hills and instead sell Templed Hills.
Two members voted for the motion. The motion failed.
Another motion was made:
That proceeds from the sale of Pilgrim Hills be used as follows:
- to pay off an existing loan for improvements and programs at both campsites (approximately $262,000);
- that approximately $350,000 be added to funds currently on hand to provide a Capital Improvement Fund for Templed Hills of $750,000;
- to establish an endowment fund of at least $1 million to generate income for a Conference Faith Formation plan and program
The motion passed unanimously.
A Business Plan committee has been gathering information and developing an outline for the sustainability of Templed Hills since the February Board meeting. The committee will report its work at the Annual Gathering, September 15-16 at Westerville Community United Church of Christ, Westerville, Ohio.
The Camp Operations Team reported work in process at Templed Hills, and will now move quickly to accomplish many improvements at the camp to prepare Templed Hills to serve beginning in 2018 as the sole camp site owned by Ohio Conference.
A Camp Sales Team is scheduled to interview prospective auctioneers. When a contract is finalized, information will be provided throughout the Conference for the benefit of all interested parties.
A Service of Farewell will be held October 7 at Pilgrim Hills. Information and registration details will be provided in the September edition of Connections enews and will be posted on the Conference website.
As the Moderator, and on behalf of the Board of Directors, I recognize the sincere concern of those who brought forward their beliefs about these two camp sites. I also commend the Board members for their careful, prayerful, and deliberate discernment of the issues involved in providing an outdoor ministry component for a broad faith formation ministry.
We pray for God’s continued guidance as the ministry of faith formation develops in new ways throughout the Ohio Conference.
Rev. Mindy Quellhorst, Moderator, Ohio Conference
Rev. John Gantt, Interim Conference Minister, Ohio Conference