COVID-19 Update

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is with delight and some soberness that I write on behalf of Brethren Woods. Many of you know the extraordinary creativity and perseverance exhibited by the staff during the challenges of COVID-19. In the articles that follow, Brethren Woods staff describe the myriad ways in which the staff coped with the challenges of the past months. Ministry continued, although in different forms and methods.

I also wish to inform you of the changes in staff configurations effective until December 31, 2020. Because of the decrease in workload and loss of revenue from event and rental cancellations, it was deemed necessary to decrease monies for the staff budget. This means not filling positions open by normal attrition and, in other cases asking some staff to work half-time for the months of October-December. This revised budget was affirmed by the District Leadership Team on September 10, 2020.

By taking this action now, it is planned that reserves and monies raised will be freed to fund full staffing in 2021. We also understand the continued uncertainty associated with the camping/rental season in 2021. However, with the actions taken and projected revenue, the camp will be in a position to sustain operations until more clarity is achieved regarding programming in 2021.

This has been a challenging time for all of us. I ask that you keep the Brethren Woods staff in your prayers, thoughts and responses over the next months.

Serving Christ Together,

John Jantzi

District Executive Minister

A letter from Doug Phillips, Director
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Around the Corner
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As you can see from the previous article, there have been some changes at camp. I don’t have to guess, I know that your lives have changed, too. When this year started, I thought that the dead ash trees would be our biggest challenge in getting ready for camp. As it turns out, cutting down and cleaning up those trees was a piece of cake compared to the COVID-19 challenge.
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There are still some trees to clean up, so you are welcome to come and help. What we think is a huge challenge may not be as big as what lies around the corner. I don’t know what is around the corner, but I know who is already there waiting for me. God is around the corner, and in my corner.
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We have had Summer Camp for over 60 years at Brethren Woods, so of course, I believed we would have Summer Camp in 2020--and we did! It just was not our traditional summer camp. When things change, we need to pray and live into the mission that God calls us to. So, we had different kinds of summer programs that you will read about in the next article. It was good, and God was in our midst.
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Camp has developed and grown a tremendous amount over the years. We have summer camp, weekend retreats, special adventure days, rental groups for weekends, and weeks at a time. Our income comes from a number of streams. That is a strength at Brethren Woods. COVID-19 has impacted those streams of revenue, and it has made it hard to continue to live into our mission because summer campers and rental groups have not come.
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But, new life is springing forth. Because few rental groups have come, our facility is open to host Open Doors of Harrisonburg and Rockingham. Each evening, when homeless guests arrive at camp, they get a hot meal and a warm place to rest for the night. If things were just like they used to be, we would not be able to help provide for the basic necessities of our neighbors. When we can’t do things the same old way, maybe God is calling us to do something new. Matthew 25:31-40.
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In Faith,
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Doug Phillips