Mar 30, 2023

Aware of their shared work on behalf of the Missouri Mid-South Conference, the Board of Directors and staff met together March 17-18 at Shannondale for a second annual retreat.

“It was a great success,” says Transitional Conference Minister Rev. Mary Nelson. “The Board and staff are working actively to deepen relationships and ‘de-silo’ our ministries, clarify responsibilities and priorities, and strengthen and inform their common approach to our ministries.”

First Time On-Site for Many

For a majority of the participants, the retreat was their first occasion ever to visit MMSC’s outdoor ministry site in the heart of the Ozarks National Scenic Riverways region.

Upon realizing how many of the board members had never visited Shannondale, Rev. Nelson says, “I knew I had to do something to change that.” Consequently, it was arranged to hold the retreat at Shannondale, so board and staff could gather for fellowship and worship there.

“I’ve heard about Shannondale for years, and thought I understood the ministry here, but it’s entirely different to see it firsthand. There’s so much more to it than I realized,” says board member Rev. Meredith Jackson.

Ministry Impacts Whole Community

With more than 4,000 acres of forest, Rev. Nelson explains how “this place is a key asset of the Conference that we are blessed to steward.” The MMSC ministry impacts the whole community and the whole economy in the Shannon County, Missouri area.

The “Current River Bluegrass” band led by Roy Light played during dinner Friday night, giving a glimpse into the community life, and a chance to hear directly what Shannondale means to local residents of the area. Three of the local band members shared memories of attending school in the Timber Lodge as children.

“We can’t make good decisions about this ministry if we don’t have a clear sense of the land and the people there,” says Rev. Nelson. “We must see it for ourselves to understand both the gift and the responsibility.”

Participants Take the Charge to Heart

When pointing out 4,040 acres is approximately six square miles, board member Dennis Knipmeyer helped fellow board member Duana Russell-Taylor to imagine that scope by adding, “That’s bigger than my hometown.”

Saturday began with a gathering at the property’s outdoor site for worship, followed by a tour of the main ministry areas, including the Timber Lodge and the Church, which are both critical to the ministries at Shannondale.

New staff member Jay Wiesner, Youth Ministry Resource Coordinator, says he appreciated the opportunity to brainstorm possibilities for youth programming and mission projects at Shannondale.

Board Approvals After Report

In conjunction with the Saturday morning tour, Acting Executive Director Glenn Svetnicka presented a report (co-authored with Acting Office Manager Tiffany Svetnicka) on the nature of Shannondale’s ministries and anticipated safety, program, and infrastructure needs, which the Conference must address to maintain Shannondale as a fruitful ministry.

After the presentation and lunch, the Board held its bimonthly meeting, processing together what they had experienced. The Board voted to adjust the current staffing structure and commit $50,000 to address immediate safety concerns in key buildings on the property. With a sale anticipated later in 2023, Shannondale’s carbon credit program will fund both commitments.

Announcement forthcoming on board-approved staffing adjustment.
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