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Lamar Lighthouse Camp Raises Funds for new Tabernacle building

LAMAR – It was at the end of February this year that the members of the Lamar Lighthouse Camp had to bid farewell to a building that stood on its property for over seven decades. Previously, it had been a part of Montoursville history when Indian Park was once called Starr Island Amusement Park.

What had affectionately been called the Tabernacle, by the camp community, had been built in the late 1930s / early 1940s.

“The Tabernacle was one of the first buildings – a gift shop – at Starr Island,” William Hargenrader, chairmen of the board of directors for the camp, said. “After the amusement park closed, Bill Young used the building for revival meetings.”

But, in 1947, the building was taken apart piece-by-piece and transported via pickup truck to the Lamar Lighthouse Camp property where it stood until it was demolished last month.

Hargenrader said with a laugh that he would have loved to have seen the pickup trucks taking the building to the campgrounds, but he said he remains positive, as the members of the Christian camp raise funds for a new facility, that something can take its place.

He explained that in March 2017 a volunteer noticed something was off with the Tabernacle.

“He had been doing some work and he noticed one of the walls just didn’t look right and when he went inside, he noticed one of the beams was broken,” Hargenrader said.

Two different engineers were brought in and both of them said it was beyond repair.

“We even brought in (members from the) Amish community to take a look at it, but they even said there was no way to fix it,” Hargenrader said.

And it was then they realized that the building would need to come down. In a fund-raising letter, he said, “this was very disheartening to the Board of Directors of the Lamar Lighthouse Camp. Some of the members of the board have been involved in the camp since they were children and others for most of their adult life.”

In a telephone interview, he explained he is not that sentimental of a person, but he had been involved with the camp since 1981 and this was very difficult to handle.

“We given a lot of time here and we spent a lot of time in it. It was really emotional for us,” Hargenrader said.

But, remnants from the former building will still live on in the new building. He said in recent years, the members Lamar Lighthouse

community were able to raise money for a remodeled bathroom and a new stage and they were spared from the destruction of the Tabernacle building.

“We have the bathroom and the stage covered up,” he said adding the new building would be built in the footprint of the old one.

He says he believes the new multipurpose facility that is going to be built can be used as a way to reach out to the surrounding communities. Should local people need a meeting place, the new building can be there for them.

“The new building is designed to be an all-purpose building. There will be stackable seating,” he said.

He explained this could allow for a volleyball game on a Saturday night and a church service the next day.

“We have decided and voted to rebuild. We have taken a step of faith in signing a contract with Sugar Valley Builders, in Loganton, for the demolition of the present facility and the building of a 70 foot by 110 foot by 18 foot all purpose wood framed with metal sides,” Hargenrader said.

According to the GoFundMe page (entitled “Help Replace Our Camp Tabernacle”), the camp is seeking $180,000. 

The page also discussed how the “camp is used for weekly Sunday night concerts, during the summer months, all paid for by free will offerings the night of the concert. Also there is a family week during the summer, mostly geared for the children (with) Bible studies and youth and children ministries.”

This goes along with its purpose to “enhance the work of the local church as it ministers to the whole person by providing a facility and opportunities for dynamic worship, wholesome fellowship, discipleship training, physical and spiritual renewal.”

The camp originally was founded as an outreach of the Free Methodist Church denomination, but as the years passed, other churches and denominations in the area began supporting it.

“(This is why) we are calling upon the local churches and the people of Centre, Clinton, and Lycoming County to help us in raising the funds to make this happen,” Hargenrader said. “It is our desire to continue the ministry of Lamar Lighthouse Camp for many years to come. Donations are welcomed and appreciated.”

To make a donation, make checks payable to and send to: Lamar Lighthouse Camp. c/o Bruce Trick, Treasurer 121 West Hills Drive Williamsport, PA 17701 or visit their GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/help-replace-our-camp-tabernacle.