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Group getaway

New owners of Trimble County retreat
revamp, expand services

Managers find opportunity at just the right time

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(December 2007) – Steve and Deb Rumer received a phone call last fall from Steve’s son, Brad, asking them to pray about a unique ministry opportunity he had discovered. Those prayers were obviously answered because in a series of life’s little twists and turns, the Rumers found themselves the managers of the new Agape Wilderness Retreat, located at 831 Barebone Rd., in Bedford, Ky.

Steve and Deb Rumer

Photo by Konnie McCollum

Steve and Deb Rumer’s Agape
Wilderness Retreat in Beford, Ky.,
provides services for Christian,
civic and coroporate groups.

The Agape Wilderness Retreat is situated on 80 acres of beautiful, pristine land. It is a non-denominational, Christian ministry with a goal of serving both the local community and the church through a variety of retreats. Corporate and civic groups are also encouraged to use the retreat’s teambuilding and trust initiatives.
A large, comfortable lodge has seven bedrooms and five bathrooms to accommodate overnight retreat guests. A cozy meeting room with a large fireplace is one of several places in which guests can relax. A large dining area, with a deck overlooking the lake, is adjacent to a state-of-the art kitchen.
Outdoors, there are multiple hiking trails, a fishing lake and secluded prayer covers. A new outdoor amphitheater and chapel seats 125 people for worship and activities.
Formerly, the retreat was called “The Plantings,” and was then owned by Jim and Joanne Marcum. They played host to Christian ministry retreats at the site for many years before deciding to move on to something different.
In fall 2006, Brad Rumer and wife, Peggy, had been transferred to the Bedford area and were looking for a home. Brad, a regional manager with Circuit City, is also involved in youth pasturing. Brad and Peggy saw the retreat while shopping around for a home. They knew Steve and Deb would be able to work miracles with the retreat.
In the meantime, Steve, 62, who had moved to Colorado in 2000 with the intent to start a church, had instead gotten involved in real estate. After graduating from Louisville’s Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he had spent more than 28 years pasturing churches in Indiana and Michigan. Unfortunately, when he arrived in Colorado, he suffered a massive heart attack and almost died. His calling for the ministry was temporarily put on hold.
At the same time, Deb, 53, who is gourmet cook, had changed her career and was also working in real estate. The two met and married in 2004, but both were dissatisfied with their careers.
When Brad called them with the prayer request last fall, they flew out to Bedford to look at the property. “We knew this is where God could use us,” said Steve. “It is such an opportunity to minister.”
However, the couple knew buying the retreat would be a financial mountain for them. “But God knew what he was doing,” said Deb. “He started making things move in the right direction for us, and we knew we were supposed to be here.”
While both Rumer families were working on a plan for the retreat, Mark and Susan Smithson of Louisville, Ky., saw the property and wanted to buy it. They were looking for a way to be involved in ministry, but they did not want to actually run the retreat. The Smithsons purchased the property and agreed to lease it to the Rumers for 10 years. “Can you see how perfectly things worked out?” said Deb. “We know it was God’s plan.”
Steve and Deb are the onsite managers who do the day-to-day running of the retreat. Brad and Peggy are involved in all ministry aspects of the retreat.
There are a variety of regularly scheduled retreats held at Agape, including the popular “Chocolate for the Heart.” This retreat is for women to learn the goodness and grace that God has for them and to simply share fun time with other women.
Another popular retreat, “Goin’ Fishin’,” is a men’s retreat that teaches the basics of becoming fishers of men as well as enjoying some fishing in the lake. “Ice Fishin’,” is a follow-up retreat that helps men deal with difficult witnessing situations with ease.
Agape WildÍerness also offers a variety of services for groups who want to plan their own retreats. Corporate groups can take advantage of the teambuilding and trust initiatives built in the woods. “We are really seeing interest growing with our corporate and civic groups,” said Steve.
Special situations are also not a problem for Agape to handle. “We can serve anything from hot dogs to lobster,” said Steve. “We can plan everything or offer just the basic accommodations.”

• For more information about Agape Wilderness Retreat or to schedule a visit, call (502) 255-7676 or visit: www.agapewilderness.com.

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