Pastors and missionaries can work long and unusual hours while ministering to the needs of others, and they rarely have time for relaxation. That is why Celia Crie Perry, a 74-year-old woman who understands just how difficult it is to be a minister, created a vacation house in Rockland, Maine, where church leaders can get away from their work for a while.
"I've been involved in mission organizations so I was very aware of the need," Perry told The Christian Post on Monday. "And I have a lot of respect for different ministers and pastors and missionaries that I knew, and I saw that they often have a lonely life even though they're so involved with people every day. Nobody seemed to be ministering to them, they were doing all the ministering, and I just thought that it was a big need."
For that reason Perry created Crie Haven Ministries, a nonprofit organization that invites Christian leaders to stay in the Crie Haven House at an affordable rate so they can recharge their physical, spiritual and emotional batteries before returning home to minister to others.
Perry says she inherited the house, a quaint colonial home that was built in 1805, from her parents after her mother passed away in 2003 and her 100-year-old father passed in 2004. It had been passed down to them by Perry's grandparents, who purchased it around 1960, but when she inherited it she saw it as an opportunity to help others.
"I realized that there's a lot of burnout in ministry ... and that was one of the main reasons we started [Crie Haven Ministries]," she said. She has been involved in missionary work for years, and was previously a part of missionary organizations in Kentucky, Florida and Maine.
The ministry was officially founded in 2005, and the house can host as many as eight people at a time. Instead of charging guests over $100 per night like some area hotels and bed and breakfasts do, the nonprofit charges its guests only about $30 per person, per night. The Bangor Daily News reports that people from countries like Brazil, Africa, and Austria have all stayed at the Crie Haven House.
Dave Pouchot, pastor of Crossroads Community Baptist Church in nearby Lincolnville, Maine, is a board member for Crie Haven Ministries, and both he and his wife once served as the ministry house's managers. He says it is biblical for everyone, including ministers, to set aside time for rest.
"Jesus said, Come apart and rest a while. All of us need to get out of the routine so we can get a proper perspective of what the Lord wants us to do," Pouchot told CP.
But what's the draw to Rockland for Christian leaders who live out of state? Pouchot says it's a combination of the natural beauty of the area (the mountains and the Atlantic coastline), and the culture (the Maine Lobster Festival is held there every year).
"It's just such a beautiful area that you can really ... rest a while, and there are a lot of art studios [and] museums in the Rockland/Camden area that appeal to a lot of folks who have that kind of interest," he said.
Although Perry is 74 years old, she is still working to make sure others can rest. Pouchot, who is 71, says Perry has been able to use her talents and gifts to serve God, and, he says, "there's no age limit on that."