Janesville34.5°

Ministry opens expansion

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Carla McCann
January 19, 2008
— Nestled among 52 acres of tall oaks and rolling hills along the shores of Lutherdale Lakes, Lutherdale Ministries is in the business of connecting people to nature.

The ministry has offered summer camps, ecumenical programs and adult retreats for more than four decades.


The 14 buildings within the compound, located on Highway 12 about eight miles north of Elkhorn, blend into the natural setting of the camp. Each year, about 13,000 guests attend events at the facility.


Although most of the buildings have weathered well, some cabins have no on-site bathrooms or modern amenities.


Recognizing a need to upgrade, the ministry decided it also was time to expand services to a broader and more diverse community of guests.


It built the Deback Family Lodge to further the ministry’s mission and role within the community, said Darlene Breon, development director.


The $1.4 million, 7,921-square-foot lodge has three meeting rooms with wireless Internet. The rooms are available for rent to community organizations, service groups, schools and family gatherings.


The building also has four independent dorm-style rooms with 11 beds in each room. All of the beds are covered with quilts made by members of the 24 congregations that own Lauderdale Ministries.


The lodge also is a green building. It features radiant floor heat and is handicapped accessible.


Faith and donations built the lodge, Breon said.


The Deback family, for which the lodge was named, donated $100,000 to the project, Breon said.


All of the rooms within the lodge honor major donors with framed photos and short biographies.


Janet Sweeney was one of those donors.


Before she died in February 2005, Sweeney, a talented organist, brought the joy of music to the ministry.


Even after Sweeney was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and it stole her memories, she still could play the organ, Breon said.


“The disease could not take the music from her soul,” Breon said.



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