Jenness Park sale finalized

By Terry Barone on July 02, 2020

FRESNO—Escrow closed on Jenness Park, Wednesday, July 1 ending its 67 year history with California Southern Baptist Convention and beginning a new chapter of ministry through Gracepoint Fellowship Church in Berkeley, a CSBC congregation.

The CSBC Executive Board voted May 15 to sell the camp after years of deficit spending and no revenue from a 2020 camping season because of the coronavirus pandemic. The May action gave SBC churches and entities priority in purchasing the camp.

A month later, June 16, after multiple inquiries and consideration of several offers, CSBC corporate officers signed a purchase agreement with Gracepoint for $1.5 million and a closing date of June 30.

Marc Tempesta, CSBC chief financial officer, said finalizing a sale is all about “timing. We were scheduled to close on June 30, but were able to finalize escrow on Wednesday afternoon, July 1.”

Tempesta said the $1.5 million will repay a $1.38 million camp loan through The Baptist Foundation of California and help cover JP deficits for 2020 which total almost $240,000 through May (the latest available figure).

Click to read a "Timeline of Events about the Jenness Park Sale."

Victor Chayasirisobhon, chairman of the CSBC Executive Board, said, “God truly is amazing. When we initially faced this challenge, it was the prayer of our hearts that any Southern Baptist entity would come and buy the camp so it could continue its ministry and add to its already rich legacy. God heard our requests and answered our prayers.”

Bill Agee, CSBC executive director, said “Jenness Park is a special place to California Southern Baptists. The difficult decision to sell the camp wasn’t made easily or quickly. However, I believe there are still great days for California Southern Baptists at Jenness Park under the leadership and management of Gracepoint Fellowship Church. I ask our CSBC churches and their members to pray for new beginnings at Jenness Park under the leadership of Gracepoint.”

Agee also said he is grateful for all the employees and volunteers who have served at Jenness Park throughout the decades, and asked California Southern Baptists “to continue praying for staff members affected by this transition, especially those who have not found other employment.”

Even though salaries for Jenness Park employees were paid through June 30, CSBC and Gracepoint agreed that employee housing be available until July 31.

Agee noted that Gracepoint has asked Barry Lloyd, camp director, and Bryon Mills, facilities manager, to continue serving at Jenness Park. “Barry and Bryon will welcome many newcomers and continue to welcome those who have frequented camp over the years for spiritual renewal and rest.”

Ed Kang, Gracepoint pastor, said closing day was emotional, but feels “a sense of privilege to steward this storied place well.” He added that he and Gracepoint are “excited for the many souls who will experience God and be saved at the camp. We are looking forward to continuing the ministry there, and serving our SBC churches.”

Please thank Jenness Park for their ministry through the decades: #thankyoujennesspark
Click to read a "Timeline of Events about the Jenness Park Sale."
Related Story: CSBC signs purchase agreement to sell Jenness Park (Q&A included)
Related Story: CSBC Executive Board recommends selling Jenness Park Christian Camp
(Q&A included)

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