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October 2013


Dear Friends, On Sunday afternoon, someone who had never been to Highlands before came to tour. As she stood in the Retreat Center lobby, she said, "Tough place to work!" Her words were more true than she knows. Like campers who say "You get to live here all year long??!!" I want to respond . . . "It is not all campfires and s'mores."

Does this sound familiar . . . Are you feeling stuck in congregational life and leadership? Do you sense a lack of hope or purpose in your church? Are you wondering what God is up to in the world, your life, the church? Join Us! Retreat participants will: Explore new possibilities for innovative ministry, Ignite a vision for ministry outside the walls of the institutional church, Find opportunities to build new relationships and strengthen existing ones, Discover places where God is at work in the world and discern how to participate in what God is doing, and Create space for prayer, reflection, and rest. With keynotes by Vera White Associate for 1001 New Worshipping Communities.

The Unexpected Journey Sr. High Retreat November 1-3, 2013 In a world where we are told we have to go it alone, what do the stories of the leaders of the Bible tell us? Did Peter lead the church without the disciples and eventually Paul? Did David begin his journey without Samuel and the people of Israel? Did any of them do it without God? Like Bilbo who needed the dwarves and Gandalf, and even Gollum to become a hero, we can’t do it all alone.

Highlands is both a blessing and a burden. When I said this to a staff member recently, she said, "Burden is a really negative word." It is, but it is also the reality. I love ministry at Highlands, where lives are changed and people grow in the faith. I love that people arrive early at Highlands, kids crawl over each other to sit at the front of worship, and people cry when it's time to go home. But there is also the burden of running and maintaining this beautiful facility, with over 40 buildings and 285 acres. And there is the additional responsibility of caring for our staff, whose livelihoods and families depend on their work and ministry here. I think of it in terms of good stewardship . . . and God-given responsibility; but it is also sometimes a huge burden. Our budget is designed with the expectation that donors will give an additional $200,000 in unrestricted gifts in the last quarter of the year. And our historic data shows this to be a reasonable expectation . . . historically. But recently, we have had days that have changed history and we know that many people's financial resources are being taxed with unanticipated repairs and responding to the needs of our neighbors. Highlands has worked for the last eight years to build our guest revenue, so that we are less dependent on donated income. Yet, as a result of the recent flood, Highlands has experienced a significant loss of revenue . . . approaching $60,000 in Guest Group cancellations by year's end. These are the days when the burden is heavy. In order to be wise stewards of our available resources, Highlands is taking the following actions:  This newsletter, and our next appeal letter will both be sent via email to as many friends of Highlands as possible to save design, printing and mailing costs. This is part of an overall plan to reduce expenses. I hope you will share this newsletter with others.  Highlands’ office will be closed on most Wednesdays through the end of 2013 and we are reducing our staff. Full-time staff will be focusing on weekends with our guests. In addition, we are significantly reducing hours for our part-time and hourly staff. We will leave one full-time maintenance position vacant until late 2013.  We are currently $78,000 into our Line of Credit. Our financial challenges are significant. Our limit on our Line of Credit is $150,000. To go deeper in debt is to dig a hole we might not be able to get out of. Please keep all of our staff in your prayers. Unfortunately, our staff changes puts an additional burden on full-time staff and cuts the hours of those who need their paychecks the most. Thank you for your love and support for Highlands. We need your love and support now more than ever! Together, we can share the burden and ensure the blessing.

Join us to hear stories of adventure, faith and strength, and offer your own story as part of what God hopes for us all . . . together on the journey of faith.

Maria Shupe Executive Director

Flood Update At 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 12th, Highlands was asked to open as a Red Cross Evacuation Site for the Allenspark and Raymond/Riverside Areas. In the days following, we sheltered up to 100 people. Our on-site staff did an outstanding job of caring for our evacuees, each other, and protecting our property. Damage to Highlands as a result of the flood includes: major road erosion and five large sink holes; flooding in the basement of the Retreat Center; flooding in the Activity Center; and damage to two staff houses. One staff house will need a new roof and the other staff home has water damage in the lower living level. Recently, we also discovered 30 inches of water in the elevator shaft in the Retreat Center, damaging the elevator. In addition, Highlands has lost nearly $60,000 in guest revenue from September to December. Our insurance for lost business will not provide payment because a flood and road closures are not a covered event. This is nearly half of our fall income. As of today, flooded areas have been cleaned and dried. Road repair is well underway as we prepare for winter, and we are open for guests! Your support for Highlands is critical. At this time, we can use adult volunteers to help with spraying crawl spaces to prevent mold, tree cutting and wood splitting, installing plastic on cabin windows to reduce heat loss, and trail repair. Volunteers can contact Maria Shupe at 303-747-2888. In addition to volunteers, Highlands will need funds for repairs and to support salaries and operations. Year-end gifts to Highlands support operations and camp costs not covered by fees. In addition, this year we have lost nearly over a third of our guest revenue for September to December. Your gift makes a world of difference! You can make a gift by mail or online at The Mission of Highlands is to provide gracious hospitality & quality Christian programs in a majestic mountain setting & to nurture spiritual renewal & transformation in a safe & inclusive environment.

Highlands Christmas Party and Auction Saturday, December 7th 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Due to limited road access to Highlands, we have moved our Annual Christmas Party and auction to Shepherd’s Hall at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church. 10785 Melody Dr. Northglenn We are delighted that part of the celebration will be the recognition of Buddy Jones as our Distinguished Volunteer. Earlier this summer, Buddy returned to ministry at Highlands as a volunteer. Since the flood, Buddy has spent up to 8 hours a day, six days a week, in our backhoe and skid steer, filling holes and repairing roads. It is a joy to have him volunteering with us! I hope you will help us celebrate his ministry. R.S.V.P. to or 303-747-2888

PO Box 66 Allenspark, CO 80510

October newsletter  

Highlands Presbyterian Camp & Retreat Center October 2013 Newsletter - Colorado Flood, Christmas Party and Event Updates

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