Dear Fellow Members of the Maine Conference,
At the Annual Meeting of the Conference in September there was concern raised over the proposed raising of Pilgrim Lodge prices for 2010 as the result of new "depreciation" line items included in the PL budget. These lines were added to ensure the long term care of Pilgrim Lodge. Your concerns, voiced through individuals as well as various committees and groups, have been heard. The Coordinating Council agrees that raising PL prices in this difficult economic climate may deter children and adults from participating in this important ministry. In response, the council commissioned the Director of Outdoor Ministries, the Conference Minister, the Business Manager and the Finance Committee to review at the Pilgrim Lodge budget. We did not wish to reduce the new depreciation line items because these mark a sensible direction of enduring responsibility for the care of our aging site. The revised budget was submitted and accepted by the Council.
It is my great pleasure, therefore, to report to you that PL prices will actually be $4 lower this year than last year (for a full week’s camp!) We hope this will bring even more people to experience all the richness that Pilgrim Lodge offers. This new budget has two assumptions. First, the Outdoor Ministries Committee is preparing to involve all active conference churches in a new high energy campaign to get the word out about this tremendous opportunity for all Maine Conference members. You will be hearing more about that shortly. Second, the budget was cut by eliminating three summer staff positions. This will require more volunteer effort and a reworking of staff responsibilities, but the Director, the Outdoor Ministries Committee and all involved feel this move will allow us to reduce costs without sacrificing quality of our program or the safety of our children.
In order to make this budget work, and because we want to share the powerful experience of Outdoor Ministry with as many of our members as possible, we will need help getting the word about PL out. The Coordinating Council would like to thank all the people who have voiced concerns. We look forward to an exciting and vibrant new season of camping, fellowship, astounding natural beauty and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Reverend Anita White
January 8, 2010