No red flags raised over Stony Point Center Vision Plan

Handful of PMA Board members express support for plan; vote planned for later this month

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

Meditation Space at Stony Point Center. (Photo provided)

LOUISVILLE — If the handful of Presbyterian Mission Agency Board members who participated in a conference call Friday on the Stony Point Center Vision Plan have reservations about the plan’s recommendations, they didn’t voice them.

Following a 30-minute presentation, Board Member Kathy Maurer said she sees “lots of potential” living into the experiment of investing up to $10.3 million in capital improvements to the conference center nestled in the Hudson River Valley north of New York City. The Vision Plan also recommends spending $300,000 over the next three years on additional staffing and undertaking a $75,000 capital campaign feasibility study, as well as placing oversight of Stony Point Center in the office of the PMA’s president and executive director.

The entire PMA Board is scheduled to decide during a Sept. 26-28 meeting at Stony Point Center whether to receive the plan, which calls for renovation and construction to occur in phases and also includes recommendations on program, marketing, organizational development and Stony Point Center’s business plan.

Maurer called Stony Point Center “one of our best-kept secrets” and said she’s excited about heading in the direction the plan recommends.

That direction, as recommended by Run River Enterprises of Tully, N.Y., the consultant hired to produce the Vision Plan, includes spending about $7 million to design and construct Cairncroft, a state-of-the-art meeting facility of up to 22,000 square feet, as well as private bathrooms for three Stony Point Center lodges (Beech, Magnolia and Walnut), a solar installation, a commercial laundry facility, a greenspace with a natural playscape and repairs to Evergreen, Stony Point Center’s current meeting facility.

The work is expected to take up to a decade. Since the projects are presented in phases, the PMA Board can halt the work at any time.

Board Member Ken Godshall said the Vision Plan exceeded his expectations and complimented the PMA’s leadership team and the consultant for the work that went into preparing it.

He asked if the consultant’s work is now complete and was told by the Rev. Dr. Ray Jones III, who’s heading up the Stony Point Roundtable and is director of Theology, Formation and Evangelism for the PMA, that Run River Enterprises will be retained for additional work that includes developing data collection points and marketing and finance plans “specific to Stony Point.” That will cost an additional $12,800, a cost that TFE funds will cover, Jones said.

“It’s important for the ministry areas to have skin in the game,” Jones told Godshall.

Godshall also asked if the Vision Plan ensures Stony Point Center’s economic viability. That, said the Rev. Pam Harris of Run River Enterprises, will depend on how data, marketing and financial plans are implemented and whether Beech, Magnolia and Walnut do indeed receive the recommended private bathrooms.

The capital campaign feasibility study is also a valuable component, Jones said.

“It’s going to be important for us to know how much money we can raise,” he said. “My hope is that we can raise enough to renovate the lodges and then hopefully build the new building.”

Asked by Godshall whether the ministry of the Stony Point Center is a high, medium or low priority for the PMA, Jones answered it’s a high priority.

“With this new vision, we are living into a high priority,” Jones said. “As more and more people use Stony Point Center, it will become more and more a priority.”

Stony Point Center, Harris said, will help the ministry areas within the PMA to accomplish their goals — especially as a Matthew 25 laboratory in which Presbyterians work to build congregational vitality, dismantle structural racism and eradicate systemic poverty.

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