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Koinonia Good News: June - August 2020

August 28, 2020                                              &nbs​p;      
1. THE BOARD IS VISIONING.  The Board is working on four values:
a. Sustainable – Leadership, programming, fundraising and business planning work together to enable Koinonia’s financial success
b. Ministry driven – As a member of the nationwide “Lutheran Outdoor Ministry” network, Koinonia exists to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ locally, regionally, nationally and globally.
c. Diverse – Directors and staff at Koinonia reflect the inclusivity of all God’s people and reach out with programs that remove all barriers of integration.  
d. Collaborative – Koinonia strengthens its ministry through partnerships with many people and organizations.
2. FUNDRAISING COUNSEL IS CONSIDERED.  At its August 16 meeting the Interim Board discussed hiring a fundraising professional.  No decision has been made.  Directors felt that a consultant will help volunteers to move more quickly toward the goal of $500,000.  The Board asks that everyone consider helping to make the Campaign a success.
3. THE LOAN FROM THE MISSION INVESTMENT FUND (MIF) IS IN PROCESS.  The expectation is that the process will be complete by the end of September.  The loan will be used to complete payments for the mold remediation and to make long-term repairs on Koinonia’s buildings. The loan cannot be used for salaries or programming. 
4. KOINONIA IS FINANCIALLY STABLE.  Koinonia started 2020 with cash of $31,000.  As of the end of July, we received income of $153,000 primarily derived from the Capital Campaign (“Walk in the Newness of Life”) contributions of $56,000, a Seedtime (a Koinonia quasi endowment fund) advance of $45,000, donations of $43,000 and other income of $6,000. To date, a total of $203,000 has been pledged and/or donated towards the Capital Campaign.   Expenses for the seven months totaled $161,000,  including mold remediation and testing fees of $93,000, operating expenses of $40,000 and building repairs of $26,000.  As of the end of July, Koinonia had $23,000 in cash.  Average monthly operating expenses were $6,000.  Monthly obligations to remediation contractors are $5,000 and building repairs have averaged $4,000 per month.  Expenditures for mold remediation and building repairs will be covered by the MIF loan.  The Board has plans to fund a dedicated account to service the MIF loan once the loan is closed and so help to ensure a stable financial plan for the next three years.
5. KOINONIA IS INSURED BY CHURCH MUTUAL.  A general liability and an umbrella policy provide coverage.  When Koinonia opens to the public, guests can be certain that everyone is protected.  Repairs required by the underwriter have been made in the past weeks and once completed all the buildings will be insured for their replacement value.  According to insurance ratings, Koinonia has excellent coverage.
6. NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH WILL ISSUE AN OPERATING PERMIT.  Camps such as Koinonia are highly regulated.  Koinonia’s operating permit expired Dec 31, 2018.  After a DOH inspection, Koinonia received a list of corrective measures that must be taken to ensure the safety of guests.  The list is being checked off as repairs are made.  To meet water testing requirements, Valley Water Systems will provide professional guidance. 
7. LOCAL BUILDING AND FIRE CODES ARE IN PROCESS.  Koinonia is in the Town of Highland Lake.  Local enforcement officers have inspected the buildings to be sure that all code requirements have been met.
8. KOINONIA MEDIA PLATFORMS ARE UP AND RUNNING.  The website is “”.  You may send comments and quests via email to [email protected].  The FaceBook page is “Koinonia.”     
a. Koinonia will open when permits are in place and when there is minimum staffing.  Financial planning is ongoing and necessary for a sustainable reopening.
b. While much attention has been given to building repairs, clean-up of leaves, fallen trees, trails, the campground, the Rafters and other outdoor areas also need attention.
c. An executive director, whether part time or full time, will need to be hired, along with a sustainable budget. 
d. The next annual meeting of the Corporation is in early February of 2021.  Before then, the Interim Board is working to uncover many yet unknowns.  Among the unknowns are, who will be the NEXT DIRECTORS?
10. THANK YOU FOR YOUR GIFTS!!!  While mission, vision and fundraising are taking shape, you have been so generous!  You are remarkable.  The Transition Board, the Management Team and so many others individually give thanks to God for your financial gifts. May God bless you richly for this outpouring of love! 
11. YOUR GIFTS ARE IMPORTANT TO KOINONIA.  When you can support Koinonia financially,  you may send your gift to Koinonia at 165 Lakeview Road, Highland Lake, NY, 12764.  With this newsletter you will also find a donation button.  All such gifts are tax deductible.
12. WORSHIP IN THE CHAPEL OF THE PINES CONTINUES THROUGH LABOR DAY.  Three pastors presided and preached during the summer, and between them have provided worship every Sunday.  Rev. Paul Johnsen, Rev. David Meyers and Rev. Robert Wollenburg (Interim Board President) are all retired Lutheran pastors who live near Koinonia.  The last Communion Service for the season will be September 6.  
The Transition Board and Management Team join all of you in praying for the safety and health of everyone near and far in the midst of the COVID pandemic. 
IMPORTANT CONTACT INFORMATION.   While we do not have a date for opening, if you wish to make a future reservation, please call Bob Bliefernich, our Management.  His cell number is 845-701-9351.  You can also visit Koinonia’s website at  Questions and comments can be sent to the Transition Board President, Rev. Robert Wollenburg at “[email protected].” 
July 20, 2020                           &nbs​p;                        &nbs​p;
1. LOAN APPLICATION APPROVED!  The Mission Investment Fund ( has approved Koinonia for a loan of up to $300,000.  (The Corporation meeting February 9, 2020, gave the Transition Board of Directors permission to borrow up to $500,000.) MIF is a ministry of our denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran in America.  We are receiving this loan because our regional adjudicatory, the Metropolitan New York Synod (MNYS) via the Synod Council, agreed to guarantee the first two years of interest only payments.  The 5-year adjustable rate is currently 4.375%.  Amortization is scheduled over 25 years and will commence two years after closing.  Koinonia will pay interest only on the amount of the loan that it draws down in the first 2 years.  We give thanks to God, and to regional and national leaders!
2. ALL BUILDINGS CLEARED OF MOLD.  Dennis Catalano, the NYS Mold assessor completed his clearance testing the second week of July and has sent certification papers that all the buildings are free of mold.
3. REPAIRS HAVE BEGUN.  Professionals installed insulation.  This third week of July a sheet rocker began work in the Conference Center (CC).  In past weeks, sheet rock and other repairs were made at the Asdahl House.  Volunteers are completing minor plumbing repairs at the CC.
4. MOLD PREVENTION IS UNDERWAY.  Measures taken include the installation of commercial dehumidifiers, repairs to gutters and drainage systems, and the pricing of a new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system for the CC.  These and other preventive expenditures will protect our buildings and add comfort to guests.
5. INSURANCE.  Koinonia has excellent liability and umbrella policies with Church Mutual.  Of the three levels of coverage – basic, broad, special – Koinonia has “special.”  Included is commercial auto, Directors and Officers Liability, and workers compensation.  The annual cost is $26,983.  Going down a lengthy list of questions with our agent, almost everything is covered – hikers, lake users, volunteers using power tools.  Buildings not covered until repairs are made are the Two-Family, Caritas house and the maintenance building.  Our insurance underwriter is furnishing a list of necessary repairs.  A small building (the “Registration Center”) at the entrance to the campground needs to be demolished.
6. SAFETY ISSUES.  Recently a Transition Board member surveyed fire, water and other safety issues around the Camp.  We are working with the commercial fire company used by Koinonia and with a representative of the NYS Department of Health & the Building Department to assess what needs to be done.
7. A VISION FOR THE FUTURE IS IN PROCESS.  Dr. Matt D. O’Rear, an administrative officer at Wartburg Seminary and a church-wide recognized leader, is guiding the Transition Board through a process of visioning the future of Koinonia.  As a board we have looked at things that Koinonia does best and things that we individually imagine for the future.  Our visioning is taking shape around four keys words: evangelical, diverse, collaborative and responsible.
8. FUNDRAISING RISES TO THE TOP.  Fundraising is still in the “quiet phase.”  The Transition Board approved a $500,000 campaign in May and is now considering proposals from three fundraising companies.  Fundraising will begin in earnest as we articulate our vision
9. THANK YOU FOR YOUR GIFTS!!!  While mission, vision and fundraising are taking shape, you have been so generous!  You are remarkable.  The Transition Board, the Management Team and so many others individually give thanks to God for your financial gifts.  From January 1 to July 16 you have sent gifts and pledges that total $235,565.  May God bless you richly for this outpouring of love!  If you have not yet been able to participate in this support of Koinonia’s ministry, when you are ready, you may send your gift to Koinonia at 165 Lakeview Road, Highland Lake, NY, 12764.  At the bottom of this newsletter you will also find a donation button.  All such gifts are tax deductible.
10. KOINONIA IS not OPEN.  Dear Friends, Koinonia is not officially open!  We have many repairs yet to do and safety measures to put in place.  We will need to hire staff before we can be fully open.  The Transition Board has approved “trial” openings such as Worship in the Pines (streamed live each Sunday morning at 10 on FB).  Under a special arrangement, the Asdahl House has been let out for a fee for a couple of months.  For now, we are simply not officially open … yet.  However, if you are interested in an overnight retreat during this trial period, continue to send your requests and we will decide them on an individual basis. Please bear in mind that not all facilities are fully functional during this trial period.  We request and appreciate your sincere understanding. 
June 14, 2020                                         ​;            
1. WORSHIP BEGINS.  Rev. Paul T. Johnsen will lead a Service of Holy Communion June 28 in the Chapel of the Pines at 10 AM.  We will follow governmental and ecclesiastical guidelines.  Social distancing will be in place.  Please bring your own mask.  “Come, let us worship the Lord” in the beauty of Koinonia! 
2. MOLD REMEDIATION ENDING.  Remediation began May 11.  Mr. Steve Hurley, the contractor, says he will complete his work by June 26.  Mr. Dennis Catalano, licensed by New York State, will then test and certify that the buildings are cleared. 
3. CAPITAL CAMPAIGN CONTINUES.  Every board member endorsed and together has committed $127,000 to Koinonia’s 5-year capital campaign goal of $500,000.  Nearly $43,000 so far has been received and made it possible to do the remediation.  Please contact Rev. Bob Wollenburg, Board chair, directly if you would like to make a five-year commitment ([email protected]). 
4. FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS. If you would like to fund a special project, please email Rev. Bob Wollenburg.  We have Conference Center laundry to do, gutters to hang, sump pumps to install, dehumidifiers to purchase, roofing and sheet rock costs, and more. 
5. VOLUNTEER WORK.  Everything, except the remediation, to keep Koinonia’s buildings and grounds functional, is done by volunteers at this time.  Everything.  For this newsletter we would like to recognize Jackie Lund,
6. KOINONIA HAS NO ROOM FOR HATE.  We are grieved to hear the news of another black man killed by police in Atlanta Friday night. We hold Rayshard Brooks’ family in our prayers.
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