Message from Mark Swartley – FMCA Fall Conference Call

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41.2266° N, 75.2676° W

October 19, 2020

Dear Spruce Lake & Pinebrook Family,

For such a time as this, Spruce Lake & Pinebrook were placed in the Pocono Mountains to burn brightly in a world that is growing dark. We who follow Jesus must shine before others, that our heavenly Father is glorified.

Due to social distancing, in lieu of the FMCA Fall Reception, we held our meeting via:

Zoom Video Conferencing

(click on the arrow below to replay conference call)


As you all know, this has been a difficult year.
Financially, we are fighting the good fight to be good stewards of all that God has given us and to stay fiscally sound.  During this meeting, we discussed our financial position, the steps and direction we need to take to sustain our programs in 2021, how God has worked through the challenges, but most importantly, this meeting was about us, the followers of Christ, and how we need to be the light to the world pointing more people toward Christ!

More than ever in our history,

we appreciate and value your support.


Spruce Lake & Pinebrook Retreat Centers,  both in operation as of July 4th weekend.

COVID-19 Operating Policies (SLR)

• Wilderness Camp’s condensed schedule has just ended!

Open does not mean full.

Wilderness Camp hosted about 1/3 its usual campers.

Day Camp is serving about 45% of our normal families.

Outdoor Education will remain closed this fall.

The Retreat Centers are at approximately 10% of normal numbers.

Operating at these levels forces us to admit the financial impact of this pandemic.

Many of you have expressed concern and are prayerfully

supporting us — we are grateful.


We have looked for every way we can possibly save or increase dollars:

• Used the Staff Assistance Fund & Pennsylvania Unemployment Insurance

• Applied for and received a Cares Act Loan; still hoping for a grant by Small Business Administration.

• Working with our insurance carrier on a loss of business income claim.

• Taking significant pay cuts or reduced hours — all the while making camp happen.

We have suspended the Wilderness Camp Cabin Campaign for now. Dollars contributed to date are being preserved for the future of this project. The board will reevaluate the cabin project at the start of 2021.

This community has invested so much into creating the amazing ministry that all of us have grown to know and love. After exhausting all the resources available, we are left with a 700,000 dollar shortfall between now and spring 2021, when we believe more guests will start returning.

To sustain this ministry ’til spring, we need to close this $700,000 gap.

Our core purpose is Pointing People Toward Christ. When spring 2021 arrives, we pray we are not heavy with debt so we are able to rebound and meet future ministry opportunities.

I have four requests:

1. Remember the staff in your prayers as we continue serving through the long winter ahead.

2. Please pray that God will protect both campuses from the COVID virus.

3. Both Spruce Lake & Pinebrook are open; pray that our guest community will return soon.

4. Financially, if you are able to give toward our 700,000 dollar shortfall, please do.

With your help, we can be ready for the summer of 2021.

Thank you to all who have already given and who are praying for us.

Thank you for all who have attended, written, called or loved on us in some way —

we are still standing because of the amazing community of believers that God has given this ministry.


Mark S. Swartley

Executive Director
Spruce Lake & Pinebrook