For almost 90 years, Maranatha has been providing renewal, respite, and recreation to Christ’s church through the bold teaching of God’s word and a passion for supporting worldwide missions. From its humble beginnings as a camp for boys started by Henry Savage in 1936, to the sprawling 88-acre community and conference grounds that hosts families and retreat groups from all over the world today, Maranatha is a mission to the church. Over the years, Maranatha has hosted some of the most prominent teachers and speakers in the Evangelical world and has raised several millions of dollars for the support of the mission groups we feature each week during the summer. Here is a timeline of our rich history.
Dr. Savage signed a five-year lease on the property and later raised funds from other ministries to purchase the property.
An entire summer of programming was scheduled by Dr. Savage and the property was named Maranatha Bible Conference. Howard Skinner was named Summer Manager. He and his wife Ada were both soloists and keyboard artists and managed the property until 1974. Karl Steele was part of the ministry for over forty years. His chalk art presentations were a highlight several nights per week during the evening services.
Stratton Shufelt, better known as “Strat,” built his cottage. He served in many areas, including guest musician, on a volunteer basis. In the 1960s, Strat became Howard Skinner’s assistant and served as director of activities and as a musician for several years.
The number of board members went from six to over twenty. Opportunity to become a shareholder was offered which led Maranatha into a membership organization. An additional trailer park was established.
Dr. Savage retired
Special programming weeks were started. Partnering with ministries such as: Gospel Films Ministries, Youth for Christ, World Vision, and United World Mission. Saturday concerts became a highlight and features many guest musicians and then concluded with chalk art from Karl Steele accompanied by the music of the Skinners.
Howard Skinner retired.
The Duneside Apartments were built and “The Skinner Room” was established for morning meetings.
Don Aldrich Memorial Golf Outing was initiated. The proceeds are used to help fund projects of Maranatha family missionaries.
Robert Adams became the Director of Music and he and his wife Pam along with their music team served for many years. Thursday afternoon music recitals were introduced and became a favorite weekly event.
The Family Life Center was built and offered additional meeting space, a gymnasium, the sweet shoppe, and the craft room. This added functional space for our summer ministry and made it possible to extend our year-round ministry. Israel and Jordan apartments were built.
Terry Agal became Conference Manager.
The new Lebanon Teen Center was built.
Tim Ostrander became President and Terry Agal became Chief Operating Officer. Under their leadership, they brought efficiency and stability to the ministry. Additional improvements were made to the Lodge, Duneside, and the Tabernacle.
The Plaza was built in the area between Lodge and Duneside.
The old ball field was transformed into a lovely grass area to be used as an all-sports field and overflow parking when needed.
Five additional rental cottages were acquired and remodeled.
Tim and Terry both retired. Mark Sumney became Executive Director until 2015.
Ecuador was reconstructed into a duplex.
Gary Feenstra became Executive Director.
The Lodge was completely remodeled.