February 15, 2022
Dear Friends and Partners in Ministry,
It is not often a Board of Directors is engaged in four seminal issues at one time. Our Agapé † Kure Beach Ministries, Inc. (A†KBM) Board is currently working on (1) the search for a new Executive Director, (2) bringing broadband connectivity to Camp Agapé, (3) developing a replacement pool at Camp Agapé, and (4) decisions regarding the Faith Center at Kure Beach. Each issue has complexity and a unique impact. While the Board is dealing with issues affecting the long-term vision for the ministry, our staff is busy getting ready for summer and day camps, group retreats, youth groups, and environmental education. All of this makes for a busy, promising, exciting, and spirit-filled time for our ministry. We are fortunate to have dedicated board members and staff who have committed their skills and energy to ensure the operations and future of the ministry.
Today, I am writing to you to share an announcement from the Board, which met on February 12, 2022. After much prayer, discernment, discussion, and due diligence, the Board has decided to permanently close the Faith Center at Kure Beach. After a service of Holy Closure, the beachfront property will be placed on the market and sold.
Since the 1980s the Faith Center has been an integral part of the A†KBM mission. In its nearly 40 years of service, hundreds if not thousands of visitors have come to the North Carolina shore to experience God’s creation, personal reflection/discernment, worship, community, and fun. Youth groups, congregational retreats, families, and individuals not only from North Carolina, but many adjoining and southeastern states, and even as far away as the Midwest have gathered at the Faith Center. Lifelong experiences and wonderful memories have been created.
In April 2019, the Board implemented a new strategic plan. While the first phase of the plan concentrated on projects at Camp Agapé, the second phase indicated that no later than 2024 there would be evaluation, reinvention, and enrichment of the mission of the Faith Center at Kure Beach. However, due to mounting maintenance and safety issues, the Board has had to accelerate its review. Facilities at the coast face a harsh and unforgiving environment. Bright sun, constant wind, salt air, and heavy storms take a heavy toll, especially those on the oceanfront. The Faith Center has not been immune. There are serious matters; involving structural integrity as well as electrical and environmental safety issues. As part of our evaluation, several studies of the facility were conducted, including one by a consulting engineering firm specializing in environmental and structural matters. All the studies indicated a building at the end of its life cycle; no longer safe for guests and staff.
Faced with estimated expenditures exceeding half a million dollars, the Board does not believe it would be prudent stewardship to invest in the existing facility. Repair and restoration of the current footprint would not address issues of accessibility (inclusion to all) and rooms with direct access to the street which are not safe in today’s environment. The cost of the repairs would not be warranted in lieu of a vision for the generations to come.
The Board is committed to Kure Beach, and we believe we can provide facilities that are in concert with our mission statement. Taking advantage of a real estate market that is at an all-time high will provide funds to be reinvested in our two lots directly across from the Faith Center. Once the sale is complete, we will invest the proceeds and begin the revisioning and development process necessary to provide an excellent experience for the user. Soliciting input from our constituents will be an important part of our planning process.
I know the announcement will create disappointment and sadness for those who have strong memories and attachments to the Center. Please know this has not been an easy decision by the Board. Try as hard as we could, we could not envision a scenario in which the Faith Center could be restored as a safe facility and provide the resources for future generations in which new memories could be created. We are exceedingly thankful for the past Boards which had the foresight to purchase not only the land for the Faith Center but the other two lots. Their commitment to the future mission at Kure Beach will be honored with new investment.
On March 13, 2022, we will hold a service of Holy Closing to be led by Pastors Phil Tonnesen and Dan Keck. We will begin with worship at Kure Memorial Lutheran Church at 10:00 AM and proceed to the Faith Center for the closing service at 11:00 AM. Please consult our website – www.agapekurebeach.org – for other details regarding the closing service.
We ask for understanding and continuing prayers as we move forward with a new beginning at Kure Beach. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we too are sad by the closing of the Faith Center, but we are energized by the possibilities of a new Faith Center when once again all can “experience the Spirit through encounters with Christ in creation and community” at Kure Beach.
For the Board,