ABHMS helps to preserve 57-year-old American Baptist-affiliated venue

Inspecting Tank
Redwood Glen maintenance crew members Andrew Gonsalves and Isaac Coleman inspect a water tank at the camp.
Redwood Glen Executive Director Larry Rice and board member Wyman Chinn prepare for a well to be drilled.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) is doing its part to preserve a breathtaking Christian venue in which to conduct business, learn or have fun. On behalf of American Baptist Churches USA, ABHMS has awarded a $10,000 One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) Domestic Emergency Disaster Grant to Redwood Glen, an independently owned American Baptist-affiliated camp and conference center that has been serving American Baptists and nonprofit organizations for 57 years.

Nestled among the redwoods of the scenic coastal Santa Cruz Mountains in San Mateo County, approximately 30 miles south of San Francisco, Redwood Glen has been threatened by one of the worst California droughts of the century.

The camp had been receiving water from the adjacent county-owned Memorial Park as well as nearby Pescadero Creek. Then the county informed the camp that the park was permanently closing because of the drought and that the water supply would be discontinued. Redwood Glen entered crisis mode.

“We had to close our doors for a bit and scramble to have water trucked in,” says the Rev. Larry Rice, Redwood Glen’s executive director. “Our water costs increased from $6,000 a year to $6,500 per week during the summer.”

Drilling an onsite well with a filtration system would ensure the camp’s independent operation. The estimated $65,000 cost is perhaps a small price to pay to save a ministry that offers children and youth wholesome experiences that create lifetime memories.

“Our multi-day resident camps provide a safe environment for young people to build relationships with others and with God,” says Rice. “They are instructed in God’s Word, and have a fun-time experiencing true Christian community. Games, activities, singing, hiking, swimming, campfire and creek-stomping are some of the activities. In small cabin groups, our trained volunteer staff and counselors live out the love of Christ and provide support as faith decisions are considered and made.”

Ideal for an event, retreat, conference or training, the camp’s conference center features a large, stone fireplace; window wall with spectacular view; and 22 double-occupancy hotel-style rooms, each featuring a private balcony or patio.

This past summer, 289 American Baptist-affiliated campers and volunteers participated in six
sponsored-program camps for ages 7 to 18. Twenty-six American Baptist-affiliated groups, serving 983 individuals, utilized Redwood Glen in 2013. Groups ranged from a retreat for five professionals to camping for 125 parishioners.

“Here in the metropolis of the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, Redwood Glen is only an hour’s drive away, yet worlds apart,” Rice says. “We provide a place where people can get away from the hectic, frantic pace of the commuter and the computer to step into the calm, peaceful beauty of God’s creation. Redwood Glen is that rare place that has not been taken over by the cement jungle, but is rather established in the firm foundation of God, his love for us and the peace he provides for each of us.”

For more information about OGHS Domestic Emergency Disaster grants, contact Victoria Goff, ABHMS national coordinator of Volunteer and Disaster Response Ministries, at victoria.goff@abhms.org or1-800-222-3872, x2449.