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Sierra Pacific Synod Council Approves $250,000 Proposal for Mt. Cross Ministries

BEN LOMOND, Calif. — On Saturday, January 21, 2023, the Sierra Pacific Synod Council approved a financial gift of $250,000 to Mt. Cross Ministries to advance the mission and ministry of the Ben Lomond-based Lutheran outdoor ministry site. These funds come from a financial gift given in 2022 to support the efforts of Outdoor Ministry throughout the synod.

The financial gift is born out of a year-long proposal brought before Synod Council by the Mt. Cross Ministries Board, composed of rostered and lay leaders throughout the synod. This proposal outlines the Board’s intentions for 2023, including, but not limited to, facility renovations and upgrades, programming that includes a robust summer staff and a few year-round staff, intentional discounted day camps with diverse ministries throughout the synod, and enhanced collaboration with and hosting of adult groups year-round.

“The Sierra Pacific Synod Council is very excited and fully supports the ministries of Mt. Cross. We hope to continue to build a strong partnership between the synod and Mt. Cross, and with the financial gift, to further enhance their facilities and ministries,” shares Synod Vice President Simon Wong.

The $250,000 will focus on phase one of the proposal, centering facility upgrades and programming preparation for summer camp.

Mt. Cross Ministries Board Vice President Rev. Matt Smuts, a summer camp counselor alum and local Bay Area pastor, discussed phase one of the proposal in depth, saying, “This gift will support the ministry of Mt. Cross in several ways. Importantly, it will therefore support and enhance the ministries of the congregations of the Sierra Pacific Synod. Specifically, this gift will enable critical capital repairs and updates, support the regular operation of the camp ministry as it comes out from the pandemic, facilitate the successful conclusion of the Executive Director search, and support the beginning of their ministry.”

Following a particularly difficult pandemic, Mt. Cross is eagerly leaning into the hope that in-person camp returns to people’s summer schedules.

“While the pandemic has been really hard on congregations, camp by Zoom is not really a thing. Mt. Cross had a very quiet pandemic and staffing fell to essentially one position and some volunteers. Now, we are in the final interview steps of bringing on a new Executive