Board of Directors

Use your skills and experience to give back to your outdoor ministry! Please share with us about your gifts, skills, experience, and interests. Anyone affiliated with Caroline Furnace is eligible to volunteer on a committee. Some committees require appointment by the Board of Directors due to access to confidential information. If you are interested in serving on the Board of Directors, your information will be shared with the nominating task force.

Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp & Retreat Center is an outdoor ministry organization with a large, community based network and many organizational partners. The Caroline Furnace Board of Directors manages the affairs of the organization in cooperation with the Executive Director. Our Board of Directors is engaged in the growth and strategic direction of our mission of unforgettable faith, education, and renewal experiences in God’s creation for all God’s people. Our Board members provide valuable skills, varied perspectives, and a voice for the diverse communities that we serve. 

 

A full Board of Directors has 14 members: a Bishop's Representative from each supporting Synod, five additional Board members from the Metro D.C. Synod, five additional Board members from the Virginia Synod and one additional board member from the West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod. The Board of Directors meets quarterly in February, May, August, and November. A term is three years and members may serve up to two consecutive terms. Terms begin and end at the November meeting. Years in parentheses indicate when terms end. Board members with an asterisk* are on second, non-renewable terms. Please contact Board President, Allison Ryals, at allisonryals@gmail.com with any questions for the Board.

Metro D.C. Synod

Annabelle Allard (2021)

Faith, Arlington

Rev. Brett Wilson (Bishop's Rep)

Georgetown Lutheran, D.C.

Lynn Luck Roepe (2022*)

King of Kings, Chantilly

(vacant x3)

Virginia Synod

Executive Board

 

President

Allison Ryals

 

Vice President

Rev. Matthew Day

 

Secretary

Rev. Joel Neubauer

 

Treasurer

Todd Domaleski

West Virginia -

Western Maryland Synod

Rev. David Delaney (Bishop’s Rep)

VA Synod ELCA Office

Todd Domaleski (2023*)

Epiphany, Richmond

Rev. Joel Neubauer (2022)

St. Mark, Yorktown

Allison Ryals (2022*)

Epiphany, Richmond

Tori Smith (2021)

Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg

(vacant)

Rev. Matthew Day (2022*)

St Johns, Martinsburg

Mike Noll (Bishop's Rep)

St Johns, Martinsburg

Meet our Board

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Annabelle Allard (2021)

Faith Lutheran Church, Arlington

Annabelle first came to Caroline Furnace as a Confirmation Camper. Now she comes to Family Camp each year and brings her older kids to their own weeks of Summer Camp.

 

She has many wonderful memories of Caroline Furnace, but one of her favorites is of canoeing down the Shenandoah River during the Family Camp Out-Trip. She and her daughter still laugh about how they almost tipped over in the canoe, and the whole family enjoys thinking about what adventures the next Family Camp will bring. She also loves playing gaga ball with her kids, meeting new people who later become friends, and watching her children have fun singing the same songs that she loved as a child.

She loves that Caroline Furnace provides a place to disconnect from daily life; to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and have time and space to think about God and faith. But more importantly, Annabelle appreciates that Caroline Furnace is a community focused on love and acceptance. Being part of these types of communities made a huge difference in her life as she was growing up, and she's so thankful that her children now get to experience this at Caroline Furnace.

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Rev. Matthew Day (2022*) - Board Vice President

St. John's Lutheran Church, Martinsburg

Matt brings his confirmation group to Caroline Furnace each year for a retreat. He loves the space here, as Caroline Furnace can meet so many of his needs as a pastor. He can bring campers, he has a variety of spaces to host adult retreats, and this serves as a place where he can escape and pray. He became involved at Caroline Furnace after moving to West Virginia for a call, but he has been involved in camp culture much longer than that.

 

Matt grew up going to Boy Scout Camp, and credits it with changing his life and helping him grow into a stronger individual. Camp taught him valuable life lessons that have stayed with him through the years. He is a firm believer that camp ministry builds up future leaders, both lay and rostered leaders, which are most needed in the Church today. 

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Rev. Dave Delaney (VA Bishop's Rep)

VA Synod ELCA Office, Salem

Dave's involvement at Caroline Furnace began in 1973 when his family returned to Virginia and his youth group held weekend retreats here. In fact, the Northern Virginia Senior High Retreat at Caroline Furnace involved as many as ten congregations and served as the inspiration for other areas of the Virginia Synod to construct regional youth retreats. Over the years, Dave has returned for everything from the Church Vocations Conference to campus ministry gatherings, to enjoy fellowship and be refreshed by the Spirit that is always in abundance here.

 

Some of his favorite memories are the moments during his high school retreats where three or four would be gathered spontaneously at the fire circle or on the steps of a cabin with questions and challenges for one another about what it meant to follow Christ. These memories are part of what directed him to a long life of youth ministry. Dave values outdoor ministry as an increasingly important component of our faith formation work as a Church. It's well-known that outdoor ministry experiences can be a key component in a person's discernment process for ministry, and there's just something about Caroline Furnace that urges people into faith conversation.

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Todd Domaleski (2020) - Board Treasurer

Epiphany Lutheran Church, Richmond

Todd is connected to Caroline Furnace through his son, Cole, who has been a camper since 2011. He joined us for his first Work Weekend several years ago to help clear trails and chop firewood, and he left with a wealth of new friends and a newfound sense of community. He looks forward to Work Weekends each year so he can reconnect with his Caroline Furnace family and help welcome new camp friends. For Todd, Caroline Furnace provides an opportunity to get away from the pressures of the daily routine and connect with God in a beautiful setting.

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Rev. Joel Neubauer (2022) - Board Secretary

St. Mark Lutheran Church, Yorktown

Joel came to Caroline Furnace as a camp counselor before and after seminary, 2003 and 2007, and enjoyed staying connected as his sister, Janelle, joined summer staff in later years. He has served as a Summer Camp chaplain many years since. His daughter, who has tagged along to Caroline Furnace ever since she could toddle, spent her first week as an official camper in Summer 2019 - and plans on many more adventures! In addition to holy time spent at Summer Camp, he has enjoyed introducing others to Caroline Furnace and Buttonwood Lodge through time on retreat.

When asked about his favorite memory, Joel has many: color tag and creekwalking and early cups of coffee in the quiet lodge, campfires casting long shadows at dusk, the remnants of campfire smoke in sweatshirts that still smells like joy months later, singing grace at mealtimes, dancing through praise breaks, encounters with wildlife and encountering how wild God's life is, friends and family and friends-who-become-family, picking berries along a walk to swim time at the lake - and that moment when the friend you invited catches on that this is holy ground, and now your lives are joined through Christ in this miraculous place.

"Among the legendary saying of Jesus is an ancient quote: 'All things have reached me. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Life up the stone and you will find me there.' I am continually amazed at the power and presence of God to be revealed in the body of Christ in the water, among the trees, beneath the slag, and beside the friendships forged here, naturally and spiritually.

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Mike Noll (WV-WMD Bishop's Rep)

St. John's Lutheran Church, Martinsburg

Mike and his wife spent many years as youth leaders at their church, and each year they brought their youth group to Caroline Furnace for a winter ski retreat. They joined other youth groups in the Cabin Village for a weekend of skiing and fellowship. They also had Spring retreats in the Farmhouse, and one of Mike's favorite things about the retreats was their worship service at Chapel on the Hill. During worship, they would pause and just listen for a bit - tune out the hustle and bustle, quiet their thoughts, just listen to the breeze and the stream running below, and experience God's creation.

For Mike, Caroline Furnace is a place where individuals can come together, enjoy fellowship and study scripture in the beauty of God's creation. It is a place to come decompress from the rush of daily life and find spiritual renewal. This is a place to celebrate God and creation.

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Lynn Luck Roepe (2022*)

King of Kings Lutheran Church, Fairfax

Lynn has been connected with Caroline Furnace for over 40 years. She was a camper, CIT and summer staff in the late 70's and early 80's, and more recently, a camper parent. She values the welcoming presence of Caroline Furnace, stating it is "truly a welcoming camp and retreat center for all". Having been connected with Caroline Furnace for over 40 years, it is hard for Lynn to come up with a single favorite memory. However, if she had not worked and met her husband here, her life would be very different!

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Allison Ryals (2022*) - Board President

Epiphany Lutheran Church, Richmond

Allison has had many roles at Caroline Furnace, as Camper (1993-96), Summer Staff (1997-98), Volunteer, Camper Parent (2010-present), Family Camper (2010-12, 2016-18), and Board member. From campfires, out-trips, reunions and work weekends, to weddings, worship, and lifelong friendships, Allison has made many memories here.

 

Decades after first coming to Caroline Furnace, the impact of her time and experiences here continues to reverberate through her life. Countless times, this place and community has provided needed renewal for her soul. Now, it is such a blessing for her to watch her children experience this beautiful place, find renewal, and build their own camp memories. Allison loves the spirit of renewal, acceptance and inclusivity that is found here, and values the many ways we build community and engage with this beautiful land and God's beautiful, unending love.

Rev. Brett Wilson (DC Bishop's Rep)

Georgetown Lutheran Church, Washington DC

Brett served on Summer Staff in 2004, 2005, and 2008, and continues to serve as a volunteer chaplain during Summer Camp. From her many fond memories here, the two things she values most are the peace that is found in quiet moments and the way that campers can bloom in just one week at camp. From Brett: "Seeing hesitancy, concern, or self-doubt give way to laughter, joy, exploration of faith, asking questions about God, and singing with gusto is a beautiful thing!" 

She loves the way that the place, the community it fosters, and the mission together are interconnected and resonant with each other. The place - keeping God's creation and camp as being "away" and unplugged to listen instead and notice nature matters. The community it fosters can also be away from the usual distractions, cliques, biases, and things that hold us. The mission, to share faith and provide for supporting it, fits in this place and gets achieved through summer camp, the hospitality provided (by excellent, warm staff!) for retreat guests, and the ways in which camp can help support folks and ministries more broadly all matter.