By Terry Barone
Cold Springs—For John and Carol Bohrer, a family getaway at Jenness Park was an annual highlight for their ministry and their marriage for more than 30 years.
When California Southern Baptist Convention sold Jenness Park in 2020 due to the inability to financial support the camp through COVID-19, John and Carol thought those days were over. However, Jenness Park still offers “pastoral stays” for California Southern Baptist pastors and ministers.
John, a long-time CSBC pastor and director of missions for Shasta Baptist Association, said Jenness Park is a place where “we could get away from the stress, reconnect and just be a couple once again.”
He noted the stress on pastors and their spouses because of the “pressure of being on call 24/7. Jenness Park is a place where you can truly disconnect because of the isolation” of the camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Noting there “is a connection in a dire emergency, it was always a great place to be together (with Carol) and relax.”
Bohrer said Jenness Park has been “dear to my heart since I first attended a Royal Ambassador Camp at age 12.”
His wife, Carol, echoed his sentiment. “I have a lifetime love for JP. My church had a cabin there, and I was three months old when I went the first time. John and I wanted to get married there, but a January wedding didn’t materialize.”
She added the couple looked forward to going every November and did for about 33 years. “It was advantageous to our ministry and marriage because it gave us the opportunity to get away from everything and just be John and Carol.”
John added the pastoral stay afforded him the opportunity to use a couple of days as study leave. “I could prepare a year’s worth of sermons – not the whole thing, but at least outlines for the coming year.”
In true alliterative, pastoral fashion, John said the couple’s time at JP was “restful, relaxing, renewing, recharging and refreshing.” He added, “It gave us a chance to regroup. It was like a revival.”
Carol advises couples in ministry to “get away” whatever the expense. “You don’t know how much you need it until you get away. People in ministry tend to think they can do everything. They can’t!”
“God is clear about taking breaks.” Referencing Lamentations 3:22-23, she said, “He is new every day. He expects us to be refreshed and be alone with Him. It is important to walk away from ministry to take care of yourself. We were able to do that at Jenness Park.”
Jenness Park Camp Director Barry Lloyd agreed with John and Carol. “Pastors often ignore God’s mandate to rest. The busyness of the pastor in sermon preparation and sheep care is draining physically and emotionally. Using the pastoral stay can be a time of refreshment and rejuvenation for the pastor.”
For this reason, Lloyd said Gracepoint Fellowship Church in Alameda, “appreciated this service” offered by CSBC and chose to keep it as a “blessing to pastors.” He said the camp values the importance of “taking time to rest and recharge the soul, mind and body.”
There is no charge for a pastoral stay which can last up to five nights and six days, according to Lloyd. He noted there is no charge for the three cabins dedicated for this purpose. Those wishing to apply for a pastoral stay must fill in and submit the registration form on the Jenness Park website (jennesspark.com).
JP to host Lifeway camps
Lloyd said Southern Baptists also can take advantage of Jenness Park by sending students this summer to Centrifuge and CentriKid camps sponsored by Lifeway Christian Resources.
A primary benefit for SBC churches using Jenness Park for student camps is supporting their ministries to youth and children. “Getting students out of their normal pattern of life can refocus their attention on Christ and what he is doing around them and through them,” Lloyd said.
He added, “Getting away allows one (adults, youth and children) to slow down, and take a new look at one’s personal life, emotional life, physical life and spiritual life.”
All Lifeway camps at Jenness Park are capped at 480 students. Centrifuge at JP is scheduled July 11-16, July 18-23 and July 25-30. The cost is $354 per student. CentriKid is slated at JP Aug. 1-5 for a cost of $349 per student. Registration for the camps can be made at lifeway.com by clicking on the “camps & events” tab.
Lloyd said the camp continues to enlist summer staff for the 2022 Lifeway events. “This is an opportunity to watch God work in the lives of campers and fellow staff member. An added benefit for staff is a nice pay rate ($18/hour),” he said.
Those interested in serving as summer staff can find information and applications on the Jenness Park website under the “Join Us” drop down menu.
Since being sold to Gracepoint, Lloyd noted campus improvements including updated cabins, conference rooms and dining areas. The chapel has had the false ceiling removed, vinyl flooring installed and benefits from a new sound and lighting system. He noted all buildings have a new interior look.
Enter your email and every Tuesday we'll send the latest news, interviews, and resources directly to your inbox.