Message from Sumatanga

3/25/2020

Dear Friend of Sumatanga,

In the spirit of full transparency and in light of the current opportunity afforded by isolation and social distancing, I am choosing to use this time to be grateful for the progress that has been made at Sumatanga Camp and Conference Center over the past year and to focus our efforts in maintaining our momentum to build a new and successful future for Sumatanga.

I will start by saying that above all, I am grateful for you and for your continuing prayers. Your feedback, individually and through participation in the many Listening Sessions held, has helped those of us on the Sumatanga Action Team to dream and plan for the successful retreat and camping experience of the future. Your love for Sumatanga and its traditions are the roots from which new growth will emerge. Every effort is being made to keep you apprised of actions taken through our Monthly Communiques posted on the website, through social media and through correspondence such as this. You have graciously accepted our necessity of closing certain buildings on campus due to structural deterioration and the associated expense of upkeep. You have accepted our new nine-month annual schedule, and you have, without complaint, adapted your ministry requirements accordingly to both of these changes. Your spirit of generosity fueled a successful fall fundraiser allowing Sumatanga to complete some much-needed capital improvements and making it possible for Sumatanga to finish 2019 in the black. You are helping us design a summer camp experience that purposefully uses the leadership of the North Alabama Conference Camp Ministers to reconnect this valuable ministry with local churches. Yes, I and the entire Action Team are very grateful for you.

Another challenge has now presented itself, not just to our beloved Sumatanga but to the whole community and nation. We have not lost faith and seek to assure you that God is still present in a very real way at Sumatanga. The challenges are real, however, and have impacted our ability to serve. It does not require a lot of thought to do the right thing and comply with CDC guidelines for isolation and sanitizing. It requires a great deal of heartbreak, thought and prayer, however, to manage through this time, to preserve our relationship with each of you and to continue our pathway to success. Here is what we have done and what you can do to help:

  • Scheduled retreats and/meetings have been canceled through May 11. Groups have been contacted and registration funds have been made transferable.
  • The nine-month schedule is being extended through the month of November to accommodate rescheduling as many events as possible
  • The Nomads have been onsite to deep clean and sanitize everything
  • Staff members are working limited hours whenever and wherever that is possible
  • Utilities are being conserved and supply costs are being strictly managed
  • Cash is being managed conservatively while making every attempt to remain current on obligations. Currently, there is $42,826 cash on hand Monthly expenses include salaries, utilities, supplies, and insurance are averaging $46,000 per month.
  • Pursue timber harvesting as quickly as feasible
  • Continue summer camp planning with full intent to hold summer camp, either as has been the structure of the past or through some new and alternative experience. The constant will be the focus on introducing children and youth to the love of God.
  • Investigate potential funding sources as part of the national Stimulus Package

What can you do to help?

  • Pray. Please continue to pray and maybe even escalate your prayers so that there is no confusion about God’s intervention and role in this effort.
  • Register your child for Camp. Yes, online registration is available. Take advantage now.
  • Volunteer. There is much cleaning and repair work that can be accomplished once social distancing restrictions are lifted.
  • Reschedule any canceled event. God’s timing is perfect.
  • Give. Please consider an unrestricted financial gift to Sumatanga to help us sustain operations during this crisis. It would be devastating to lose the momentum that we have collectively gained. To make your gift online, please click this link, or you can mail a check to Sumatanga Camp and Conference Center, 3616 Sumatanga Road, Gallant, AL 35972.

We are still able to breathe deeply of the fresh air at Sumatanga, hear the birds chirp, and see the trees begin to bud and know that God is present and good. Spring is a time of rebirth, renewal, and regeneration. As people of faith, we believe the same to be true for the ministry of Sumatanga. We look forward to once again welcoming you and others onto these Holy Grounds. We will continue to keep you posted and, in the meantime, please know that we will hold you in our prayers. Stay safe!

With gratitude,
Daphne Orr
Interim Director


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