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And if you still have a hard time sleeping, then come to Koinonia!!  Breathe the air.  Stare at the trees.  Sit by the water.  Walk in the woods.  Warm yourself by a fire.  Read a book.  Listen to your music.  Let us serve you with food, with prayer, with plenty of quiet time.  We will pick you up at the bus station in Monticello or the train station in Port Jervis.  We will not be so busy that we cannot take care of you.  When you are with us we want you to relax, rest easy, get up late, go to bed early, sleep. This is what God gives to us.


Here are some things to report:


• We are seeing more and more people using the Camp.  If you are considering a retreat, please get it on the schedule ( and then talk to us about how we can help you plan.  


• Now that we are open and have paid staff, our goal is to keep us open!  So, I have to say that your gifts are important and necessary.  Please continue to be generous.  And, THANK YOU for your past gifts!


• FYI. As Board President, I pay for my room when there for things like the rededication weekend; my wife and I also make financial gifts throughout the year. When the Board meets “as a board”, we do not ask them to pay for their room, but a contribution is always welcome.  Volunteers and staff make regular contributions.  We are all working together, and we invite you to join us if you have not already.


• We are close to completing strategic planning, and now we are turning to our capital campaign.  We are very pleased to announce that Dr. Anthony Geraci, current and Transition Board member, at our recent retreat volunteered to chair the campaign!  This is such good news.  Anthony is the head of neurology at the North Shore LIJ hospital system. He will be retiring mid December and then will have more time to devote to this important task.


• I have been talking with a couple of key people about ideas for mid-week retreats.  For example, how about 3-4 days in January or February to study the Easter Vigil texts, and then imagine or illustrate them through visual art, the use of Legos, or playful video.  In 2019 my family and I told the Ezekiel story of the dry bones. We filmed it with an iPhone in a nearby cemetery.  How fun it was to see young Silas and Ardith on cue spring from behind a gravestone when “the bones began to rattle.” Another family used their bathroom tub to tell the story of Noah and the Flood.  We will let you know about the retreat.  If you have other ideas, please do share them!


• The Strategic Planning Committee continues to meet.  The weekend of September 17-19 the Committee met with Board members and set a vision and goals.  Then we asked who will “champion” the goals.  The response was wonderful.  The Board has not yet met officially to adopt the vision and goals (the mission statement remains the same) but as soon as we do, we will recommend them to you and ask for your comments.


• In a previous newsletter, I asked you to complete the sentence, “Koinonia is….”  Responses included, “retreat and family center,” “homecoming,” “a ministry,” “my sanctuary,” “a refreshing respite from regular routines,” “a place with God,” “renewal,” “remembering who we are,” “connection,” “an outdoor youth ministry,” “an escape,” “a resting place,” “heaven on earth,” “a place to grow,” “a challenge,” “a people, a place, a way of life,” “conference center, camp, community, sanctuary.”  You have another idea?    


We look forward to seeing you at Koinonia!!

Rev. Bob Wollenburg

Board President

I was thinking then and now over the September 11 “Memorial” weekend of our need for rest and renewal.  At the rededication of the Conference Center on September 4th we read Psalm 127. The psalm invites us to build our hopes on the Lord and to rest easy. 


“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. … It is in vain that you rise up early and go to bed late, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep” Psalm 127).


Isn’t it relaxing to simply read those words?  Then let them rest in your mind as you go back to your toils.  I pray that you will indeed sleep better.  

Greetings and Blessings to you all,


The clear skies, cooler dryer weather and changing of the leaves are signs of fall. It is a time of reflection and new beginnings. Those of us on staff and Koinonia volunteers are working hard to transition us to the new season, and we thank you for your donations and support.


The August 15th Community Day had the highest turn out of our whole summer, with two congregations staying at the Conference Center and three local congregations joining us for worship in the Chapel in the Pines. Families from the Day Camp and Port Jervis and community members had our total attendance between 75-100 for the day. Our insurance carrier, Anchor, funded a delicious BBQ lunch.

September Events

Labor Day Weekend commemorated our Grand Re-Opening. Bishop Bill Gohl, bishop of the Delaware-Maryland Synod of the ELCA, presided over a packed worship in the Conference Center, and our year-round staff were installed by Pastor Paul Johnsen. It is official! Hallelujah!


I also visited a Member Congregation on September 9th-St. John Matthew Emanuel in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Pastor David Parsons made a special time for me to share the good news of Koinonia. Please contact me if you would like me to attend your Sunday worship or a Bible study.  I look forward to meeting you.


If you have given to Koinonia in the past two years, thank you! In the next few days you should receive a letter in the mail encouraging you to become a member of Common Ground before November 1rst. Common Ground is a yearly commitment of $250 or more that lays a strong foundation for our programming, staff, and upkeep of buildings and grounds. The Common Ground Dinner is on November 21st from 4-7pm at Koinonia. If you would like to make a reservation, please email us or call the office.


Below is our upcoming programming for 2021. If you are interested in attending any of these events please call the office or email Advent II is filling up!







As an example of Koinonia’s ministry, consider the family of Chris Jaime (a former camper who returned to Koinonia in July). Last weekend Chris and Lisa, with their two teenage sons Nick and Ryan, arrived at the Lakeside cabin. I stopped by to get a picture and ended up helping Nick get a fire started. Ryan and I collected twigs from the forest, and Chris and I brought over more wood. As we chatted, it became clear that the family is changing in a positive way, and that coming to Koinonia is a part of that process. 


Please pray for the Jaime family, for all that have been touched by Koinonia, and all those who do not yet know Koinonia. Pray that more people will find in Koinonia the space to discern God's will and grace


Thank you for all your prayers, keep giving, and if you are able, come visit us soon.



God Bless,


Kathleen Ruen(she/her/hers)

Executive Director

Missed the previous news? Catch up on the archived newsletters here.

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