The faith-based Buffalo Mountain Camp off Dry Creek Road, which closed because of flood damage sustained in August 2012, was decommissioned after 66 years of operation with a communion service Thursday night.
The service concluded with the ringing of the camp bell. Janie Dosser and Judith Anderson rang the bell 66 times, once for every year the camp was in operation.
The Rev. Randy Pasqua, Holston Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries executive director, said Dosser and her family have a longstanding connection with the camp and Anderson is a wife of a board member.
Many former campers and staff members were at the service Thursday to close the operation and celebrate the beginning of a new ministry.
The Holston Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries announced earlier this year that it would be selling the location in favor of moving to an 80-acre camp site on Bays Mountain near Kingsport.
The original location suspended its operations in 2013 for financial reasons related to the flood damage it incurred in 2012.
Pasqua said that the name of the new ministry on Bays Mountain has yet to be selected; however, he hopes a name will be in place by Sept. 1.
The Bays Mountain camp should be fully operational by summer 2017; however, Pasqua said he hopes the camp will be able to offer something in 2016 despite it not being fully operational.
Pasqua believes the camp was a successful ministry, he said.
“Many people encountered the love of Christ there. That’s why it was so special.”