In 1999, The Right Reverend Daniel W. Herzog, tenth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, commissioned a Futures Committee to evaluate the existing diocesan camp and conference facilities and make recommendations on how they could best serve the diocese and greater Church well as the twenty-first century approached.
The Futures Committee carried out an exhaustive study of the existing facility capabilities in conjunction with prayerfully developing a comprehensive Christ-centered program which would benefit people of all ages. After nearly two years, the Committee concluded that the existing facilities not only failed to meet current needs, but they could not meet future needs due to facility limitations and regulatory requirements.
Using the Christ-centered program developed, the Futures Committee then developed a list of criteria necessary for the program. The committee members identified more than 700 potential sites and diligently evaluated dozens. God answered by revealing His plan for the diocese and Church. On December 12, 2002, the Diocese of Albany purchased 612 acres of beautiful property in the rolling hills of Washington County on which to create Christ the King Spiritual Life Center.
Once a working bull ranch known as Leatherstocking Farms, the property had lain empty and unused for a number of years. With inspiring views of the countryside, a thirty-six acre private lake, several peaceful ponds, thirty-acre wetland, miles of hiking trails on General Schuyler Mountain, and 1600 feet on the Battenkill River, the property was simply spectacular.
Over the course of several years, Leatherstocking Farm was transformed into a Spiritual Life Center for the service of God and His people. The magnificent stone manor house became the Barry House Christian Library and Residential Wing. An existing barn became the Oratory of Christ the Healer! Two other dilapidated barns were transformed into St. Michael’s and All Saints Chapel. While these were under renovation, two miles of roads and systems for drinking water, hydrants and septic were evolving simultaneously. At the same time, the Welcome Center, King’s Inn, staff lodging, recreational areas and the entire Beaver Cross Camp complex was being constructed. Hundreds of volunteers from dozens of churches joined the many construction crews, and in just over four short years, Christ the King Spiritual Life Center was operational.
Today Christ the King Spiritual Life Center is a thriving community visited by people from all over the world. The Center will continue to evolve and grow as Christ reaches more and more people through the hospitality, programs, outreach and worship of the Center. And it all began with the godly vision of Bishop Herzog embraced by the godly people of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany and fulfilled by the grace and guidance of God Himself…Father, Son and Holy Spirit. AMEN!!