Continuing the Vision

DONATE ONLINE HERE for the Koronis Tabernacle project.

Together, we can continue the vision. Together, we can make sure our next generation of campers and guests has a best day ever at camp! 

For over nine decades (since 1922), the original Koronis Tabernacle stood at the geographic and spiritual center of the Lake Koronis Assembly Grounds. This 1,500 seat pavilion was the place where the community of faith (youth, families & adults) came together each summer to become renewed in their commitment to God and to each other. As this lakeside “camp-meeting” grew into a year-round retreat center in the 1980s, and as the seasonal Tabernacle began to show its age, UMC camp leadership began to see the strategic need to replace the structure with a modern, year-round, state-of-the-art meeting space (plus a new kitchen & dining-room).   This would enhance the camp’s ability to serve as a gathering place for the 21st century church. In the spring of 2015, facing significant structural concerns, this venerable structure was razed - and a capital campaign for a New Tabernacle was begun.

In 1922, Koronis Ministries in Paynesville started as a camp where people of faith could come together to experience Christ and enjoy creation. There were initially just two buildings—a 1,500-seat gathering space, or “tabernacle,” and a dormitory. Over the past nine decades, the camp has expanded and thousands of men, women, and children have dedicated their lives to Christ in the historic building. Now, it’s time to erect a new tabernacle that will honor and build upon the camp’s rich history—and that will prepare it to create thousands more disciples in the decades to come.

Vision: Replace the historic tabernacle with a new tabernacle that honors the cherished memories and features of the original structure, that is equipped to meet the needs of future generations, and that provides a sacred place where people of all ages can sense God’s call in their hearts and commit their lives to Christ.

After almost a century of use, the tabernacle, so rich with memories that even the wooden beams and trusses are filled with the touch of the Holy Spirit, has fulfilled its purpose. New visions beckon, and we are called to provide new ways for the Gospel to reach new people. The Christ who has long spoken to people in that holy place now walks ahead, calling us to new ways of faith-building and service in His name.

Needs have changed dramatically over the past 90-plus years of the tabernacle’s existence. Its amenities met the needs of its visitors when it was initially constructed. But as building standards, technology, expectations of camp groups, and the use of the facility evolved, they created needs that the building could no longer accommodate. The old tabernacle had no restrooms, air conditioning, ceiling fans, or heat, and it wasn’t able to be used year-round. Modern amenities, meeting space, and technological capabilities are needed in order to attract year-round groups to camps and retreat centers.

About 13 years ago, a new tabernacle was identified as part of Koronis’ master plan for development. But the new tabernacle was put on hold as the Minnesota Annual Conference stepped back to complete a comprehensive review of its entire camping ministry.

With that review complete and a solid ministry plan in place, camping leaders partnered with nationally recognized camp consultant Kaleidoscope in 2012 to study camp properties and explore key moves to position them for growth and financial stability well into the future. Kaleidoscope affirmed the plan to build a new tabernacle and cited it as a key leverage point for Koronis’ long-term vitality.

In early 2014, the conference’s Camping and Retreat Board and Board of Trustees decided the time was right to move forward with the construction of a new facility over the next few years.

The vision for a new tabernacle is a multi-level, multi-use worship and meeting center that contains:

  • a worship space that can be divided into separate meeting rooms
  • a dining room and commercial kitchen
  • restrooms
  • air conditioning
  • heat
  • improved lighting
  • advanced technological capabilities
  • intentional outdoor gathering areas where visitors can enjoy creation

The new tabernacle's dining room will be able to seat up to 280 or be divided into multiple spaces for smaller groups, and the whole building will contain ample room for organization and storage. The new tabernacle also capitalizes on views of the lake, connects with a patio for outdoor dining, and is surrounded by beautiful green space.

Eventually, Koronis Ministries’ current kitchen and dining space (located in the nearby Lakeview building) will be remodeled into much-needed smaller meeting areas.

The amenities in the new tabernacle will enhance the experience of longtime groups that return each year and attract new groups whose needs couldn’t be accommodated by the old structure. Because the new tabernacle will be designed for year-round use, more groups than ever before will be able to make Koronis part of their lives and faith journeys.

The new tabernacle will be a place where people of all ages can continue to be touched by God’s wonder-filled creation and come to know Christ, themselves, and each other more deeply.

Campaign goal: $3 million

The amount that will actually be spent on a new tabernacle and the new tabernacle’s exact size and specifications will be determined by the funds raised for this project. Donate to new tabernacle


  • Spring 2015: Razing of old tabernacle
  • 2016-2018: Raising funds for new tabernacle
  • August 2018: Groundbreaking for new tabernacle
  • Spring 2019: New tabernacle opens doors

Koronis Tabernacle Groundbreaking was held September 3rd, 2018 at 2:00 PM.  Many supporters joined the celebration with smiles and shovels to help break ground.  News Article: Leaving a Legacy: Tabernacle Groundbreaking

Giving to Continuing the Vision

There are a variety of ways to support Koronis Ministries’ effort to build a new tabernacle, and all gifts make a difference. Individuals will be given an opportunity to make a three-year commitment to the “Continuing the Vision” fundraising effort. Pledges may be given as a one-time gift or as a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual commitment.  Gifts can be in the form of cash, appreciated stock, real estate, charitable trusts, IRA charitable rollover, and/or life insurance. Donate online for the Tabernacle project.  THANK YOU!

Contact one of these individuals if you have questions:

Gifts and fundraising
Sheri Meister
Director, Minnesota United Methodist Foundation
(612) 230-3337

Camp Minnesota
Keith Shew
Director, Camping and Retreats
(612) 230-6130

Tabernacle project
Dan Ziegler
Director, Koronis Ministries
(320) 243-4544