The most celebrated moments at Beulah Beach Camp and Retreat Center (Alliance) are not the mealtimes—though those may be a close second. Rather, they’re when someone rings the Beulah bell.
Resonating throughout the campgrounds, the sound means a person has made a significant commitment to Jesus Christ. Astoundingly, nearly 700 campers rang the bell this past summer.
“God is continuing to build His church, and Beulah is just a small part of it all,” says Beulah Beach’s Executive Director Ralph Trainer.
The sound of the Beulah bell is one reminder of God’s favor upon this 94-year-old ministry in Vermilion, Ohio. Central District Superintendent Jeff Miller, also a Beulah Beach board member, recounted many more signs at this summer’s dedication service of a new multipurpose facility.
Our God the Rescuer
Repeatedly, God has rescued Beulah Beach from near disaster. Whether legal issues, bad press, rumors, or health challenges among the staff, the camp has faced difficulties.
“As God has shown up at Beulah Beach, so has the enemy,” Jeff said. Yet God has kept His promise to never abandon His children and to carry them through trials.
Not long ago, Beulah had a debt of about $750,000. “We didn’t have a clue how we could pay hardly a penny of it,” Jeff said. “We even had discussions, both privately and officially, of whether there would come a day when we’d need to liquidate what was known as Beulah Beach Camp. We couldn’t possibly survive the trajectory we were on.”
But God had other plans. He did not shut down the camp; He settled the debt. “Budgets have been in the black for years now. Fiscal health is what we know here at Beulah Beach,” Jeff said. “We’d love to see more generosity, and yet I’ll tell you this: we’re fiscally strong at a time when many camps are struggling. It’s a most astounding thing and an incredible blessing of God.”
The Best Is Yet to Come
Generous, sometimes surprising, gifts have poured in. Ralph recalls one day when a three-bedroom condo was donated, and a few minutes later, another major gift was received. All in all, it totaled more than $700,000. More recently, generous Friends of the Beach have provided the camp with three vehicles and three jet skis.
“There’s a sense that when God gives vision, He gives the provision,” Jeff said. “When God grants the revelation, He resources the dream. We’re experiencing it time and time again.”
This summer, Beulah opened two new buildings: a multipurpose facility called The Center and a new office/welcome center. Moving the office to its own building instead of keeping it in the lodge has allowed the camp to add more than 20 beds. Now they’re able to welcome more campers who can hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
“We didn’t think for a second we’d be able to do something like that this year, certainly not with building The Center,” Jeff said. “Yet God provided an incredibly generous gift so that it was built and provided without anything being taken away from The Center. It was astounding.”
No longer are people only talking about the “good ole days” at Beulah Beach. God has birthed a new vision, and the staff, residents, and guests at Beulah are dreaming again. “The best days of God’s work at Beulah Beach are still in front of us,” Jeff said. “There is still a work He wants to do,” including raising up more bell ringers.
Beulah Beach is one of 28 Alliance camps in the United States. The Alliance runs more than 50 camps in 17 countries. Read more about Alliance camping ministries at AllianceCamping.org.
Visit Beulah Beach Camp and Retreat Center’s Web site. Please note that by following these links, you will be leaving cmalliance.org.