Rolling on the River
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In October 1948, when Bishop John Wesley Lord consecrated Rolling Ridge, he called it a "venture in faith." For 70 years, this "venture in faith" has transformed countless lives through youth institutes in the early years to Day Apart Retreats and our annual Peace Conference today. From a run-down youth facility to New England's premiere Christian retreat and wellness center, the transition and transformation of this historic site have been realized.
Today, Rolling Ridge is recognized for its gracious hospitality, excellent guest services, and delicious food as an oasis of beauty and peace. But as we move into our next chapter, Rolling Ridge desires to be known for something more than "just a pretty place." We want to be known for our ministries, our programming, our retreats, as we seek to create a spiritual network and provide a spiritual community for this "spiritual but not religious" generation.
Our new vision is to be the premiere Christian retreat center for training in spirituality and leadership, with an emphasis on Earth literacy, creation care, and eco-spirituality, connecting people with God, others, and creation to restore beauty and peace to our world. A new venture in faith begins.
The ministry of Rolling Ridge is like a river, a river initially flowing with ministries for New England United Methodists in the early years, and continuing today with BOOM, PLA, and other organizations of the NEUMC alphabet soup. Though there have been drought years over the past 7 decades, when the Methodist river was a mere trickle, other streams fed into the river of ministry, strengthening the flow, allowing the river of the Ridge to continue.
In our hosted programs today, we are thankful for a growing number of guest groups who continue to feed into our flow as partners in our ministry, creating a financially sustainable operating budget. To put it very simply, Rolling Ridge is now financially healthy, stable, and a viable retreat center. With new streams of programming feeding into the Rolling Ridge river, we are excited about our future as we partner with cutting edge ministries and prepare to launch new programs.
However, as we pursue our vision to become the premiere Christian retreat center for training in spirituality and leadership, we need additional funding sources to invest in our ministry and to assist us in paying off our loan for the renovation of the Larry J. Peacock Carriage House. Because a few donors are unable to honor their pledges, we need to raise $21,000 to complete our Restore, Rebuild, Renew Capital Campaign and because new programming is expensive requiring an ongoing investment of funds, we would like to raise an additional $28,000 to provide seed money to supplement our grants.
For our 2018 Year-End appeal, we are seeking to raise $49,000 in cash and pledges to help the Ridge flow forward towards its vision. While the financial needs are real, what is more important than the cash flow is the people flow. We are hoping to raise a ground swell of people who believe in our ministry and are willing to give just $70 a year over the next 7 years to help us realize our goals. If 100 people gave $70 a year for 7 years, we would reach our goal of $49,000. Or if 70 people gave $700 by year-end, we would also reach our goal. Along with financial partners, we are also looking for Rolling Ridge champions who would be our ambassadors by publicizing our programs in their churches and communities.
While the grounds and buildings of Rolling Ridge are improving, we now seek to strengthen our ministry programming as we look ahead to the future. In this “spiritual but not religious” context in which we live, with church attendance on the decline, we know that this will not be easy. But the miracle of Rolling Ridge continues, as this venture in faith continues.
As the river continues to flow, new streams are feeding into our waters, allowing us to be more effective and relevant in our programming. As we bring life and hope to our communities, we continue our legacy of transforming lives as we flow forward on our way towards becoming the premiere training center for spirituality and leadership, Earth literacy and creation care in New England.
As the Prophet Ezekiel wrote in 47:9, "Everything will live where the river goes." The river of the Ridge flows forward through faith, bringing life to a new generation. We hope that you will join us on this new “venture in faith” and pledge your support to keep the Ridge “rolling on the river.”
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