With mixed emotions, I write to report to you that the sale of the Rickman Center property closed on September 22. As some of you may already know, the property was sold to a Jefferson City group of companies: The Farmers Companies. The Farmers are a very highly regarded business in Jefferson City, who operate the quarry across the highway from Rickman (among other enterprises), and who are well known locally for their community-mindedness. As we understand it, the Farmers plan to use the fifty acres closest to the highway for some aspect of their business operation, but will be donating the remaining 150 acres (including the main campus with all the buildings) to an international non-profit organization: Halo Worldwide, which has programs in Jefferson City. Here is link to their main webpage, and then a link to their Jefferson City program:
Our understanding is that Halo plans to use the Rickman lodge as transitional housing for homeless and at risk teens. They are continuing all existing leases, which means that our own Disciples' congregation, Table of Grace, will continue operating on site. Halo will likely be hosting camps during the Summer, potentially including some of ours. It appears there will be many opportunities for synergy to develop between Mid-America Disciples, including our local Jefferson City congregations, and Halo.
The Farmers made a full price (as professionally appraised) offer of $1.1 million, which was accepted. Because there were initial direct conversations with the Farmers, we did not have to list the property with a commercial real estate agent (saving about $75,000). Further, we had been advised to expect the sale to take 2-5 years.
Many of you will remember that Sara Reiter, Second Vice Moderator, led a Property Task Force (Gene Hilton, Scott Fritz and Judy Ridlen), which studied the possible options for Rickman in 2013-2014. They recommended that CCMA sell the property, which was approved in 2014 first by the CCMA Executive Committee, then by the Council of Areas, and finally by the CCMA Regional Assembly in St. Louis. In early 2015, a Sale Task Force (Gene Hilton, Joy Faires, Paul Ratcliffe, Nike Thompson and Leon Whitney) began to work on the process of selling Rickman, which led to the result described above.
Given our difficult decision to sell the Rickman property, this is a very positive outcome. One million dollars will be transferred to the Christian Church Foundation to an unrestricted account, the Rickman Legacy Fund, which will be invested as if it were an endowment (meaning the principal will remain untouched and grow), with 75% of the annual distribution flowing to Mid-America youth and outdoor ministries, and 25% to Mid-America leadership development. After deducting the costs of the sale, the remaining $100,000 will be transferred to the CCMA operating reserve (what we used to call the "historical fund"). Our regional operating reserve (a bit like a household's "rainy day" fund) had diminished to a level that was much less than optimal. This will restore the region to a sound fiscal position. The distribution of funds just described was approved by the CCMA Executive Committee and the Council of Areas this Summer, and our Regional Assembly in October will be asked to affirm these decisions.
Many years of wonderful ministry occurred at the Rickman Center. Thanks be to God for all those years! May we all look forward to continuing and renewing these ministries in new ways, and to creating and nurturing many new ones.