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Wow, what a year! Let's take a look at 2019.

(For the full recap with photos, click here)


2019 has been an exciting year at Caroline Furnace! There are many things to be grateful for, but most of all, we are grateful for YOU. Thank you for continuing to transform community with us and with one another. Let's take a look back at this year's adventures:

January to May: We held 7 Family Night events across our three Synods to build community and meet future campers and retreat guests. We estimate that we served dinner to about 150 friends at our Family Nights! Be sure to check out the 2020 schedule below - we hope to see you soon.


Feb 1   We released our Sustainability Plan and began implementing new practices to reduce consumption and waste. For years, we've been teaching our campers and retreat guests small ways to care for creation. Now we're being more intentional in leading by example and sharing practices that you can take home with you.

Feb 2   We reopened the Cabin Village after a $60,000 renovation to the wastewater treatment plant. To celebrate, we hosted an appreciation dinner for donors and neighbors (and everyone), followed by a concert with The Black Lillies in the Upper Room and a campfire jam sesh afterward. Between dinner and the concert, we celebrated with over 100 friends on February 2nd.


Feb 4-6   Our first Pre-Lenten Retreat! We explored the Lenten gospel texts by the method of Rehearsing Scripture, which brought new meaning and insight for our participants to take home with them. Our next Pre-Lenten Retreat is February 4-6, 2020 at Buttonwood Lodge.

March 15-17   Paul Bunyan Weekend: With the help of 39 volunteers, we cleared dead and downed trees by buildings and along our roads and trails, plus we created a HUGE firewood pile for campfires. The next Paul Bunyan Weekend is March 6-8, 2020.

April 2   Come, let's take a second (2nd). Our first Quiet Day was held April 2 this year, and we've continued to schedule Quiet Days once a quarter. Upcoming Quiet Days are April 2 and June 2.


April 12-14   Between Spring Work Weekend and a congregation-level Work Weekend with King of Kings (Fairfax VA), we had help from over 70 volunteers who accomplished so much. Many of the projects were completed using funding from Thrivent Action Teams. On Palm Sunday, Heidi led us in a special worship service in the Upper Room (AND we even used pine boughs as our palms, since palm trees don't grow here at camp). Our next Work Weekend is March 20-22, 2020.

May 15   Bryan Hepner started his first day (back) at Caroline Furnace as our full-time Director of Facilities & Maintenance

May 26   Lauren (pastor at Muhlenberg, Harrisonburg) and Nathan Eanes were married in St. John's Chapel. 

May 31   Staff Training began for Summer Camp 2019!

June 15   The Metro DC Synod elected Bishop Leila Ortiz at Synod Assembly! She was installed in September.

June 19-21   Julie represented Lutheran Outdoor Ministries at the Uncharted Conference in Boston, a conference for Lutheran and Episcopal young adult and campus ministry leaders.


July 22   Daughter of Pastors Patrick & Katie Freund, Maggie, was baptized in the spring by St. John's Chapel. Patrick was on summer staff and they've served as chaplains every summer since returning to the Shenandoah Valley.

August 10   By the end of summer, we shared Caroline Furnace with 386 campers! 

August 11   Alexandra (Sasha) and Adam Quinn were married in St. John's Chapel. Alexandra is a former Program Director.

September 13-15   We had the help of 55 volunteers at Fall Work Weekend! Together we are able to accomplish so much, and we love sharing all of the hard work and exciting updates with retreat groups and summer campers.

October 13   A memorial service was held for Richard Hartman and his ashes were scattered at the base of a dogwood tree, which has been planted by the entrance of the new memorial path on property.

October 21-24   Julie and Tom participated in the IACCA Conference with other conference and retreat professionals, and returned with lots of notes and ideas. IACCA is the International Association of Conference Center Administrators.


November 2-3   We asked questions, discussed, shared ideas, and brainstormed at the Power the Future Summit - all of which will help the Board of Directors develop their next Strategic Plan. We hosted two video calls in December for those unable to come to the weekend event, and we'll follow up with an online/written opportunity soon as well.

November 10-14   Six representatives of Caroline Furnace participated in the OMC Great Gathering: Tom, Lee Ann, Julie, Heidi, Todd Domaleski (Board of Directors), and Brenda Lucus (volunteer). The Great Gathering was a first-time, ecumenical conference with 6 Christian-based camp organizations, including Lutheran Outdoor Ministries, and was held in Lake Junaluska NC.

November 17-22   We hosted morning briefings at Moyer Lodge for the US Forest Service while fighting the Kennedy Peak Fire, with a daily crew size of 50-120. We appreciate the hard work of local and national crews who were on-site to contain the forest fire.

December 4   Julie, Tom, and Bryan participated in the Virginia Camp and Retreat Leaders Gathering at Alta Mons, a Methodist center in Shawsville VA. Caroline Furnace is scheduled to host VCRLG in 2020.

December 9-10   Julie and Tom spent some time at Mar-Lu-Ridge with other directors during the LOM (Lutheran Outdoor Ministries) East Territory Gathering. Time spent learning from and sharing with our ministry partners is important, and helps us all to grow and continue serving our communities.

December 16   We mailed 39 Caroline Furnace ornaments to campers who were registered by December 10, as part of our Camp for Christmas promotion. A week of Summer Camp is an awesome Christmas gift!

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2239 Camp Roosevelt Road

Fort Valley, VA 22652

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© 2019 by Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp and Retreat Center

Tel:   540-449-0012
Fax:  540-449-0050