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Stony Point Center calls its next director

Since high school, Chelsea deLisser has been honing her heart for service

by Mike Ferguson | Presbyterian News Service

Chelsea deLisser

LOUISVILLE — Chelsea deLisser, the new director of Stony Point Center in the Hudson River Valley 45 minutes northwest of New York City, traces her life of service back to high school.

“I hosted a fast-a-thon for my peers as a kickoff to a food drive,” deLisser wrote in an email. “I invited my fellow high schoolers to fast with me for a day to explore even to the smallest degree what it was like to be hungry.”

Owned and operated by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for more than 40 years, Stony Point Center rests on 30 acres of nature, gardens and farmland. Its Meditation Space, Labyrinth and Art Space help guest explore faith, creativity, community and leadership building.

While attending the State University of New York at New Paltz, “I was called to serve in other capacities,” deLisser said, and following graduation served  with Americorps in Providence, Rhode Island, with City Year. After two years of national service, deLisser moved back to New York and went to work for a holistic gym. “I worked sales, taught yoga, did a bit of housekeeping and everything in between,” she said. “My passions led me to create an outreach yoga and meditation program” that catered to seniors, students, hospital patients “and other populations that didn’t have easy access to such wellness programs.” The program’s strong roots “made it easy for others to maintain as I followed my call to serve at Stony Point Center.”

Once deLisser learned of Stony Point Center’s existence, “I knew I had to be a part of it. Naturally, the next step was for me to walk in the front door with my résumé in my hand saying, ‘I love what you do here and would like to be a part of it.’ Within a month, I was walking back in those doors with the title ‘assistant general manager.’”

“My role and title have changed a few times since then, but my devotion to this place has not, which has led me to the director position,” she said. “Dreams turn into reality here at Stony Point Center, discoveries are made, lives are touched, change is created and relationships are built, repaired and deepened … I am honored to be gifted with this opportunity and excited for all that it has in store.”

Stony Point Center is now blessed with “a new state-of-the-art, interactive and welcoming retreat space,” deLisser said. It’s been developed “to serve the whole Church with in-person, hybrid and online retreat options. You need it? Stony Point Center will have it for you! To that end, we’re moving from being a place that hosts the events you create here to a place that works with you to create what you need and can share here or wherever your people are gathering.”

“We are an active, not passive tool — your tool,” deLisser said. “We meet our mission when you meet yours.”

deLisser said Stony Point Center “has been quite active emerging from the pandemic. Its hosted “diverse Matthew 25-aligned groups like Innovations for Poverty Action, who gathered here to coordinate international efforts to eliminate poverty,” and Gridlock NYC, an “Ultimate Frisbee team intent on opening the sport for gender diversity.”

“We’ve also continued to improve the campus,” she said. “We’ve finished replacing the last original roof and renovated two retreat houses. New conversation spaces, amazing scratch kitchen, stellar staff and a clean and beautiful campus will draw your group in.”

deLisser said Stony Point Center “will be the creative space for the Church, the space to go to if you have an important conversation that needs to happen and the Church needs to engage, the space to bring your half-baked plan to be fleshed out with Stony Point Center staff and technology.”

“To that end, we’ve designed the Overbrook Conversation Room with high-tech [equipment] to broadcast think tank-style gatherings linked to a comfortable retreat house for small gatherings of thought leaders,” deLisser said, suggesting that Presbyterians keep their eyes open “for upcoming Overbrook Institute at Stony Point Center offerings and reach out to us if you have something you would like us to help you create.”

Watch a brief video on Stony Point Center’s Meditation Space here. Connect with Stony Point Center by going here.

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