Ground is broken for new chapel at Cedar Ridge Camp

As churches continue to close, new life rises at Mid-Kentucky Presbytery facility

by Jerry Van Marter, Mid-Kentucky Presbytery Stated Clerk | Special to Presbyterian News Service

Nearly 50 people gathered for Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony for construction of a new chapel at Cedar Ridge Camp in Mid-Kentucky Presbytery. (Photo by Alainna Brummert)

LOUISVILLE — Nearly 50 mask-wearing, health-screened, socially-distanced friends, board members and staff of Cedar Ridge Camp, a  ministry of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, gathered Wednesday to celebrate groundbreaking for the 60-year-old camp’s new chapel.

The 2,400 square-foot chapel is the first new construction at the camp in many years, except for the camp office building several years ago. “I always felt a little guilty about building our office first,” said Camp Director the Rev. Andrew Hartmans. Construction is scheduled to take about a year at an estimated cost of $750,000.

The Rev. Peggy Hinds, vice-chair of the Cedar Ridge Camp board of directors, said, “The camp has always been a sacred place, but we have never had an indoor sanctuary. The new chapel will give us that and more.” She added: “The basement will double as a storm shelter, literally giving folks sanctuary from dangerous weather.”

The Rev. Dr. Angela Johnson, moderator of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, speaks during Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony. (Photo by Alainna Brummert)

The dream of a dedicated worship space at Cedar Ridge Camp — indoor worship has usually been held in adjacent multi-purpose Hopkins Hall — started to take shape in 2010 when nearby Jeffersontown Presbyterian Church closed and some proceeds from the property sale were given to Cedar Ridge for a chapel. The largest single contribution came in 2017 when Louisville’s Calvin Presbyterian Church sold its property and donated $400,000 of the proceeds to the chapel project. Total gifts to the project currently total about $700,000.

“We’re grateful to all who have contributed,” Hartmans said, “from those who support our ongoing ministry, to those churches that budget money for the camp and this project, to volunteers who have come out to help us get the site ready for construction.” Representatives from about 25 percent of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery’s churches attended the groundbreaking.

The Rev. Andrew Hartmans, Cedar Ridge Camp director, and Tim Doeling, architect of the chapel, participated in Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony. (Photo by Alainna Brummert)

The new chapel’s architect, Tim Doeling (a member of Harvey Browne Presbyterian Church in Louisville), said the construction presents no particular problems. “We were very careful to remove as few trees as possible,” he said of the chapel, which sits in a cedar grove overlooking the camp’s small lake. “We’ll start with the foundation, of course,” he added, “and then pause briefly to let fundraising catch up so we can build all the way through to completion.”

The new chapel will be a beacon of faith and hope, Hartmans said. “This space is something special, a gift to the community,” he said. “Look how many worship spaces are being sold and turned into restaurants or other businesses or simply left unused or torn down. Here is something new for the glory of God!”

Individuals who have donated money, time and prayers “are crucial to making this dream a reality,” Hinds said. “They will be remembered for their generosity and foresight in helping to create a sacred space where people will gather and worship for generations to come.”


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