Sumatanga, as its Himalayan name denotes, is a place of rest and vision. It is also the most significant faith-shaping venue for the United Methodist Church in North Alabama. More than 600,000 guests have participated in 5,000 retreats, camps, and conferences there since 1951. Even before construction began on the first building, leaders of the Conference envisioned a 1,700-acre mountain retreat center where people of all ages would come for spiritual renewal and fellowship. Sixty-three years ago, when the first youth camp was held on campus, their vision became reality.
Our vision has grown significantly since then. Over these fruitful years there have been more than 300 children’s summer camps and a greater number of youth summer camps. Sumatanga hosts one of the largest and most active Emmaus Retreat Communities in the country with more than 19,000 Pilgrims participating in The Walk to Emmaus over 30 years. The Behold Retreat, a cooperative youth retreat pooling the resources of many local churches was started by a cadre of youth pastors in 1986. It has grown from 75 to as many as 1,200 people over 27 years. Many have heard the call to faith in Christ through Behold, and quite a few have sensed a call to Christian service and ministry as well. Sumatanga somehow makes it easier for guests to “realize the Holy” while here.
The North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church has a sacred treasure in Sumatanga. This camp and conference center, more than any other entity, is the historic heart of our conference. Sumatanga is a ministry resource for the local church. Sumatanga extends the reach of your mission and goal.
Participants in programs at Sumatanga form unique communities that inspire. Children, youth and adults find that camping and retreats are powerful faith-forming experiences. Sumatanga provides a doorway for people from all backgrounds to connect with the United Methodist Church. It creates leadership opportunities for those seeking ways to minister to the world.
The value of Sumatanga is inestimable. The beauty of the outdoors helps create an environment where people can gather in faith and focus on their spiritual journeys. It is a natural haven that inspires a sense of awe and wonder at God’s work, and serves as a perfect backdrop to teach proper stewardship of God’s gifts to us.
Your help is needed to ensure that this Holy Ground is able to creatively move into the future. With your help Sumatanga will continue to grow in its capacity to provide a quality camp and retreat experience that will help many thousands more become more empowered disciples of Jesus Christ.
What Your Gift Means to Sumatanga and Our Guests: Every person who comes to Sumatanga has the opportunity to experience God in many different ways – from the beauty of creation to the stories told by others on the journey. Many people have said that when they are at Sumatanga it is like being on Holy Ground because God has changed so many lives in this special place.
Your gift to Sumatanga will not only maintain, but enhance our high level of quality programming. In addition to the outstanding summer camps that are provided for youth and children, we are offering new camps this year to reach more people. Horse Camps, Athletic Camps, a Princess Camp, Adventure Camps, camps for grandparents and grandchildren...these are some of the new offerings Sumatanga has for summer camp this year.
Your gift to Sumatanga will help ensure attractive and comfortable accommodations for our guests. We are committed to upgrading our facilities and maintaining a high level of comfort and attractiveness. Already many of our guests are noticing changes and expressing appreciation.
But most importantly, your gift will make it possible for Sumatanga to continue the ministry of changing lives by the grace of God. This wonderful place truly is Holy Ground. Thank you for investing in changed lives!