Alumni of the New York City Mission Society’s Minisink branch celebrated its 90th Anniversary on their former campgrounds at the World Olivet Assembly property in Dover Plains, NY on June 22.
Minisink partnered with churches of various denominations in New York City since 1929, especially in Harlem, providing Christian leadership development and recreational activities for children and teens.
The Saturday event featured speakers who participated in Minisink activities throughout its history, but especially from the 1980s when Camp Minisink shifted to the Dover Plains location. The World Olivet Assembly property had formerly been owned by the New York Mission Society, which hosted Camp Minisink each summer. It was sold in 2005 and used as a shooting grounds until the Assembly acquired the land in 2013 for use as the Christian denomination's headquarters.
Dozens of Minisinkers traveled to join the day's activities. Among those welcoming Miniskink participants were WOA General Secretary Pastor Mark Spisak and Town of Dover Supervisor Linda French. The celebration and service took place on a deck overlooking a lake on the property and included singing of praise songs in between speakers.
A service included remarks from former Minisink Camp officials followed, including Sharmin Gray, Chairwoman of the 90th Minisink Anniversary Committee.
After her closing remarks, Gray concluded her speaking opportunity by giving a Certificate of Appreciation from “Friends of the Minisink Experiences, Inc.” to "World Olivet Assembly in deep appreciation of your gracious hospitality and thoughtfulness as we celebrate Minisink’s 90th Anniversary.”
Former Minisink Camp Director Raymond Johnson shared about his experiences at the site as a child from the city through adulthood, from visits with family, to becoming an instructor, a counselor and eventually to his time leading the camp.
“I remember laying in my bed and spraying my can of [repellent] around the bed like a moat, thinking I was going to keep the bugs off me,” he said, calling it the birthplace of his adulthood. “Little did I know that coming here would literally change the trajectory of my life."
“It’s great to be back to see that this property is once again being used to build the Kingdom of God. That’s definitely the beauty. It’s great to now be here and be a part of the lives impacted by Camp Minisink and now World Olivet Assembly is continuing that legacy of helping young people, helping people grow closer to God, and grow closer in their relationship in their spirituality."
Participants had lunch at the property's dining hall and toured the property including some of the cabins once used for summer programs.