When you cross the creek and drive into Lutherock you are greeted by Maple, Birch, Oak and Pine trees, rooted in the rich soil where the Sipe Family and six American Lutheran Church “Founder” congregations first stood and envisioned what this camp community could become. Mr. V.O. Sipes’ gift of 50 acres in 1957 inspired more gifts that allowed the purchase of additional property, the construction of Founders Lodge (1966-69), Stone Lodge, the bathhouse, and the establishment of Lutherock Outdoor Ministries. In 1991, Lutherock joined Lutheridge to become Lutheridge+Lutherock Ministries and grew to 200 plus acres. From 2000-2010, the spaces that would become cabin village and our retreat housing took shape,
dramatically increasing our capacity to serve guests from 45 to our current capacity of 1,500. SOIL has brought forth amazing capacity for growth!
The facility ROOTS took shape during that important decade of 2000-2010, with the creation of Rhododendron cabin, Executive Director House, 5 additional cabins, Crow’s Nest Retreat Center (expansion for 4 season ministry), McKnight Pavilion, moving of the tent village to its current OAP site, and Moretz Retreat Cabin. We currently inhabit 780 acres, although 70% (550 acres) is a conservation easement (protected land with 2 endangered ecosystems and 3 endangered species) that was established in 2015 through the Blue Ridge Conservancy and Clean Water Management Trust Fund. Our land is a rich and precious gift, the soil through which
amazing growth happens.
The ROOTS of our MINISTRY TREE include: the “Founders,” our facilities, the staff who served faithfully during this era, and the children and families who experienced the impact of ministry in the early years.
Our TRUNK is made strong by the people who hold our past and present together: our congregational partners, our four Synods and their Bishops, our donors whose gifts have led to the improvement and expansion of our site and those who have served faithfully in the NovusWay Offices to provide administration and development support to the many seasons and faces of
year-round senior staff. These partnerships are truly the heart of the Lutherock Ministry Tree.
Our BRANCHES are the people and things that make up our present state of being. We have emerged from the intense COVID years where we were
completely shut down in 2020, at which time we were able to transform Founders Lodge to create an exceptional multi-purpose space with breathtaking views. We have had 3 seasons of rebuilding our summer staff team to our current crew of 23, including Summer Directors, Main site, OAP counselors and SALT team members (our pipeline for future counselling staff). Our year-round staff team – Executive, Program and Activities Directors, Retreat Program Assistant and Facilities
Team – is about to hit the first anniversary of serving faithfully together and we are excited to be connectors between the past and the future.
Finally, the LEAVES of our tree are the vison and opportunities for the next 65 years of ministry. Over the next 5 years, we hope to grow camper participation to 80% capacity or about 1,300 participants in a summer season. We’ve already seen significant growth in Outdoor School, Year-Round Program Retreats, and Hosted Ministry. We believe our partnership with attractions like Grandfather Mountain will foster those connections for exponential growth with school groups excited to experience Lutherock. Another goal is ecumenical expansion beyond Lutheran circles, as we are committed to inclusion and becoming a mission base for various groups across the country. We have big dreams for our facilities: a four-season
dining hall and gathering space, OAP bathhouse, and infrastructure improvements like a creek crossing to create the ability to get charter buses to our group sites. We’re laying the groundwork for an internship program and training for outdoor adventure seasonal staff/outdoor ministry classes by partnering with local colleges like Appalachian State University and Lees McCray College, as well as some midwestern Lutheran Colleges.
To celebrate the 65 years behind us and to embrace the opportunities for the 65 years ahead, we have created a GIVING TREE with 65 opportunities to bless
Lutherock. There are gift levels of every shape and size that will help our MINISTRY TREE stay strong for future generations.
We invite you to think about the role Lutherock has played in your life or the lives of your family and friends and give a gift that will bear fruit for generations to come!
You can give online here.