Greenwood Ministries Association is a Michigan Non Profit Corporation, established in July of 2016 and granted 501 (c) 3 status by the IRS. It was founded by members of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan for the purpose of continuing camping ministry and expanding the ministry potential of the property used for the Presbytery of Lake Michigan’s summer church camp, Camp Greenwood.
In 2015, the Presbytery of Lake Michigan formed a committee to investigate scenarios for the future of Camp Greenwood. The understanding of the committee was that the status quo of minimal camp funding by the Presbytery was no longer an option. The options for the future included:
A) Significant investment in camping ministry by the Presbytery.
B) The selling of all of the camp property and discontinuing camping ministry entirely.
C) Having an independent non profit organization run the camp.
D) Partnering with another camp to run the camping ministry.
Determined to save Camp Greenwood, early in 2016, three individuals came together to create the founding board of a new non profit organization. These three were: Jake Dayringer, a former Camp Greenwood program director, Barb Tornholm, the former chair of the Presbytery’s Camp Greenwood Agency, and Rev. Karen Fitz La Barge, a pastor in the Presbytery. Barb became the founding board President, Jake the founding Secretary and Karen the founding treasurer. Partnering with Suzanne and Jim Bates from Camp Westminister on Higgins Lake, who the Presbytery had contracted to run the summer camp programs at Camp Greenwood in 2016; the group of five spent the summer of 2016 creating reports and gathering data for the Presbytery while incorporating their new non profit, writing its by-laws and pursuing 501 (c) 3 status from the IRS.
In August of 2016, a large meeting of the Presbytery Leadership and finance teams was held at First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo to look at the initial documents that Greenwood Ministries Association had created. Many questions were asked and even more reports and clarifications were requested from the brand new non profit. Finally permission was granted for a proposal from the GMA to come before the leadership team of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan on October 27th, 2016. The leadership team voted in the affirmative for a process with the new non profit to go forward. They created four regional meetings to be held before the December 2016 Presbytery meeting to allow people to discuss the future of Camp Greenwood. The four meetings were held:
- Wednesday, November 16, 7:00-8:30 pm at Paw Paw First
- Thursday, November 17, 7:00-8:30 pm at Lansing First
- Tuesday, November 29, 7:00-8:30 pm at Grand Rapids North Park
- Thursday, December 1, 7:00-8:30 pm at Albion First
The final vote was held December 6th, 2016 at Westminster Presbyterian Church of Grand Rapids. The motion, which was passed overwhelmingly by the Presbytery of Lake Michigan, allowed the Greenwood Ministries Association to lease the Camp Greenwood property for two years while going through a visioning process to determine the future of the ministry.
The Presbytery of Lake Michigan votes overwhelmingly in favor of the motion to entrust GMA with Camp Greenwood with an initial two year lease.