By Lauren Zeugner
SYRACUSE — The Lodge, a Christian retreat center in Syracuse, has new caretakers, Mitch and Kim Moser. The couple recently moved from Fort Wayne to Syracuse to take on this new challenge.
The Lodge, at 13900 N. Eastshore Drive in Syracuse, is owned by Grace Community Church in Goshen.
The Mosers grew up in Ligonier and are graduates of West Noble High School. They attended Grace Community Church several years ago. The couple left when Mitch was offered a position as an associate pastor at a church in Fort Wayne, where he served for eight years.
Mitch, who has served as a pastor for 30 years, decided to take some time off, spending about a year and a half writing a book on marriage, which he hopes will be published soon. The couple both enjoy doing pre-marital counseling. Together they have counseled more than 100 couples.
When the former caregivers of The Lodge decided to pursue a new opportunity, church officials called the Mosers and asked if they would be interested in the job. “It’s a perfect fit,” said Kim. “We love being here.”
The couple had 30 to 40 groups spend time at The Lodge before the state shut down, “and we loved it,” said Kim. The couple pray for the groups before they arrive and are on hand if something is needed.
While the state is opening up gradually, several events scheduled at The Lodge have been cancelled as well as several family reunions. “We’re really hoping the kids camps can happen,” Kim said. “It’s an important time in their spiritual development.”
The property offers a professional disc golf course, trails to walk, picnic areas with charcoal grills as well as a pond. The Lodge property is open to the public as long as the green flag is flying on the profile photo of The Lodge’s Facebook page or at the main entrance to the property. If a red flag is flying, a private group has rented the property.
The Mosers invite the public to come out and enjoy the serenity of the grounds or enjoy a game of disc golf. “There were people here when there where 4 inches of snow (playing disc golf),” Kim said. People have also been out at the property fishing in the pond or hiking. “It’s a great place to socially distance,” Kim said.
The Lodge property is 40 acres with 28 acres mowed. “When Grace (Community Church) offered us this job, the first thing we did was spend three hours with the former caregivers so we knew,” Mitch said. The couple has a group of volunteers who assist with cleaning up the inside of the Lodge, which can sleep about 125, and keeping up the outside grounds.
Kim explained they typically have less than a day to clean between groups when The Lodge is booked.
Mitch said he’s looking forward to the ministry aspect the job provides, which makes up about 30 percent of the job. Mitch said often a volunteer may want to discuss something with him. “We want to be open to the community,” he said.
The Mosers hope to get some signage up to help people find their way on the property. Both Mitch and Kim want to try their hand at disc golf and hope to host a disc golf tournament this summer but no date has been set yet.
The couple has three grown children: Ben, who is in the RV industry; Hannah, who is married to Jared, the couple has three children; and Silas who is married to Grace, the couple is currently in Taiwan.
The Lodge is booked six months out. Some of the other area churches using the facility are Nappanee Missionary and The Vineyard, as well as Grace College.