Koinonia Good News

KOINONIA GOOD NEWS: Department of Health and Insurance are our partners

September 17, 2020

From the Transition Board President, Rev. Robert Wollenburg


Dear Friends,


First, thank you for your sincere prayers. You know how important these are for the future of Koinonia’s ministry. God has blessed us in the past and we look forward to more from God.  


Second, let me thank you for your volunteer work and monetary gifts.  Because of you we are getting closer and closer to reopening!  You have made an enormous difference!!


And, thank you for your understanding.  You want to know when Koinonia will be open and while you wait, your patience has been remarkable!  


So, let me explain where things stand with reopening.  But first, here is an explanation of “what” Koinonia is as a facility. 


There is a lot to manage.  We are an outdoor and indoor ministry, public camp, retreat center, a motel with food service.  We are a playground and campground with hiking trails, swimming and boating.  We have landscaping and meadows.  We have a lake, a dam and a water bridge.  We have beautiful trees and some hang over buildings, electric lines, roads and people.  Managing Koinonia requires a lot of attention.


We have a complex infrastructure.  There are miles of unpaved roads, drainage ditches and culverts.  We have wells, water purification systems, sewage lines, septic tanks, pumps, propane tanks, furnaces, water heaters, chimneys, lights, signage, electric lines, and bridges. 


Volunteers, and only volunteers, are managing and tending.  Those who live nearby carry lots of responsibility.  They pay bills, track finances, make repairs, supervise contractors, clear roads, cut trees, split logs, organize work parties, purchase supplies, do sheet rocking, keep the website operational, send communications, and in general, do whatever is necessary.  I have personally experienced and observed what the volunteers are doing, and it is worthy of high praise!  


Koinonia will open when we receive a “Permit to Operate,” issue by the NYS Department of Health (DOH).  


Before DOH will issue the permit, we have corrections to make.  Most of them have been made.   Outstanding are corrections to our water system, and for this we are working with Valley Water Systems in Callicoon, NY.  We are awaiting their work plan.    


Until we have the DOH permit, overnight guests are not permitted.  However, you may walk the roads and trails, boat and fish on the lake, enjoy a picnic in an open space, meditate, visit the Ichthus and use the Rafters.  But if you do, PLEASE email for me a day pass at board@koinoniany.org.


FYI, we are insured by Church Mutual and we have an excellent policy.  It includes more than $6.2 million in property replacement coverage and a very comprehensive liability package that meets the exposures and needs of our camp. The “Coinsurance Percent”, that is, the replacement value, is 100%.  Volunteers are covered whether on or off the property.


Church Mutual insures more religious institutions than any other insurance company in the US and is the preferred insurance provider of the Christian Camp & Conference Association.  Not only does Church Mutual provide Koinonia with a comprehensive policy, but it is committed to  keeping our organization and guests safe with training and resources, including 


  • On-site safety and hazard analysis;

  • Allergy and swimmer wristbands to help keep campers safe;

  • Online resources and webinars on a variety of topics including water safety, armed intruder preparedness, bullying and more;

  • Email or phone consultations with Risk Control Center.


Currently, Two-Family and Caritas are excluded but we are working with the insurance underwriter to make corrections.  The fireplaces in Two-Family need to be inspected and the spiral staircase in Caritas needs to be improved.  


The maintenance area is also excluded. We will need to spend at least $1,000 for a dumpster to discard all the debris.  There will also be a significant cost to repair the buildings in maintenance.  Fortunately, nothing of high value is stored in this area.  


Let me end with two non-biased observations.  While meeting with men from Valley Water I commented that I hoped people would come back when we reopened.  He replied, “I work with a lot of facilities like this in Sullivan County and they are all booked months ahead. People will come back!”  A few days prior a census worker, who lives locally, was at the Camp and said, “This place is so beautiful.”  


I believe that God is speaking to us through prophets not our own and calling us to return, to be faithful in the way of Jesus.  Koinonia has not only beautiful land but also a beautiful ministry of  love to share, AND beautiful people, like you, to help reopen!!


With peace in Christ,




Rev. Robert G. Wollenburg

While we do not have a date for opening, if you wish to make a future reservation,
please call Bob Bliefernich, our Management Team leader at 845-701-9351. 
Questions and comments can be sent to the Transition Board President, Rev. Robert Wollenburg at “board@koinoniany.org.”  
Missed the previous news? Catch up on the archived newsletters here.

165 Lakeview Drive Road

Highland Lake, NY 12743


We are currently closed for renovations. Please visit this site for frequent updates. 02/17/2020