“If you haven’t been there, you should go,” said Neeysa Biddle, when asked about Sumatanga holding a special meaning to her. “Its existence goes beyond special, and it is thought by most to be truly holy ground.”
Sumatanga Camp & Conference Center is more than a place. It is an experience!
Nestled against Chandler Mountain in St. Clair County, Alabama, the approximately 1400-acre Sumatanga facility is surrounded by woods, mountains, lakes and streams. Its beautiful setting invites visitors to step away from their problems and everyday life interruptions to find rest for their burdens and be inspired by the peace that nature can offer. “If you wish to experience God through nature and nurture, Sumatanga is the destination for you!” Neeysa stated as she continued describing Sumatanga’s special meaning to her.
Before construction began on Sumatanga’s first building in 1950, its founders envisioned the area as a mountain retreat center where people of all ages could enjoy spiritual renewal and fellowship. The founders’ vision became a reality when Sumatanga hosted the first Youth Conference in 1951. Since then, Sumatanga has expanded, and the grounds have been updated, which included a recent renovation of Retreat Center #1.
The idea of updating Retreat Center #1 began with a women’s retreat at Sumatanga, which Neeysa participated in for several years. “In preparation for the retreat, our group converted the conference room in Retreat Center #1 to a ‘living room’ space to have casual fellowship space,” said Neeysa, as she began to describe the start of the renovation to Retreat Center #1. “We carried furniture from the church and our homes to make the space special.”
Sumatanga staff members took notice of the updates to Retreat Center #1, and they got excited about the idea of creating a “cabin-like” environment for families interested in large group rentals. The space was renovated to have a more “open” look and feel along with the addition of a full kitchen. As a member of the Board of Trustees, Neeysa was well aware of the strategies and needs for the Camp, and through a mutual effort with Reverend Tony Jones, the Executive Director of Sumatanga, Cherrywood Market was able to put the final touches on the renovation. “Just our way of giving back,” said Neeysa. “As a United Methodist, Sumatanga has long been a love of mine, and I have had occasion to benefit from its services many times!”
With the recent renovation to Retreat Center #1, Sumatanga now has a vision to provide opportunities for families to gather and spend quality time together while enjoying amenities such as hiking, fishing, tennis, pickleball, swimming, etc. Church groups and secular/corporate organizations can also take advantage of the updated gathering space in Retreat Center #1 for special events or just to simply reconnect with one another. “Anyone seeking the serenity of a quiet, out-of-the-way location for dedicated work on your soul, on your relationship, or on your business, Sumatanga is the place for you,” said Neeysa.
Cherrywood Market is dedicated to giving back to the community by partnering with non-profit organizations such as Celebration Group Homes, formerly Holly Homes, to select cost-effective options for furnishing their homes. Cherrywood Market is also a member of the Albertville Chamber of Commerce and works with the Albertville City School Foundation as well.
Are you interested in having Cherrywood Market help you create a special place in your home? Visit Cherrywood Market today for your personalized shopping experience!