Even though Ariel’s School of Messianic Jewish Studies officially opens in September of 2015, our roots grow far deeper. Every summer for the past 40 years, Ariel Ministries has welcomed students of all ages from many countries to join us for our intensive Bible teaching from a Messianic Jewish Perspective held at Camp Shoshanah. After so many years of successful summer camps, which eventually developed into our six-week Program of Messianic Jewish Studies, we are pleased to announce the anticipated grand opening of Ariel’s School of Messianic Jewish Studies (ASMJS, hence מאלים in our school shield).
Nestled in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York, ASMJS will offer a one-year non-accredited Bible certificate program designed to lead young men and women into a deeper understanding of God’s word from a Messianic Jewish perspective. But to better understand the genesis of our school, we invite you to take a look at the colorful history and timeline of Camp Shoshanah and the people who made it possible.
- Aunt ‘Rose’ set aside 265 acres to be used as a summer Bible camp for two purposes – to reach out to the children of the area’s underprivileged families, and also to be used as a Bible study camp for Jewish believers.
- The campsite was named Camp Heathcote after the maiden name of Aunt Rose’s mother.
- Aunt Rose invited Pastor Joe Morrow (Mary Ann’s father, Presbyterian minister of the Clinton-Essex counties) to direct and run the Children’s Bible Camp to take place for two weeks in early July every summer.
- Aunt Rose contacted the ABMJ headquarters in New York City, and offered the property to the Mission as the setting for a summer Bible camp for Jewish believers.
- Subsequently in winter of early 1958, Burl Haynie made the long trip up to the campsite in the Adirondack Mountains on behalf of the ABMJ to inspect the property. There, he met Aunt Rose for the first time.
- The ABMJ did not want to be saddled with the upkeep of the property all year round just for a short summer camp once a year. Aunt Rose had stipulated that the property was to be developed and used for Jewish ministries only, and the ABMJ would not be allowed to sell the property later on for any other purposes. The ABMJ did not wish to receive property with those stipulations, and hence declined her offer.
- The following year in 1959, when Burl Haynie was in the throes of preparing for the first of his five-year Memory Camp on behalf of the ABMJ for Messianic Jewish teenagers, and needed a place to run the program, he thought of the campsite in the Adirondack Mountains. Thus, the ABMJ rented the Camp Heathcote grounds for two weeks in early August each year, in order for Burl Haynie to run the five-year Memory Camp from the summer of 1959 through the summer of 1963.
- Arnold met Aunt Rose for the very first time at the campsite in the summer of 1959 during his first Memory Camp in the Adirondacks.
In the Second Half of 1962 to 1969
- After Pastor Joe Morrow passed away in August 1962, Aunt Rose turned the camp property over to a local association of five pastors, known as the Clinton-Essex Evangelical Association or the CEEA to continue running the local children’s program every summer, which they did for a further seven years until 1969. Burl Haynie also served on the CEEA Board of Directors, and from time to time, he rented the campsite at his own expense to teach here and there during the summers.
- In the meantime, due to health reasons, Aunt Rose moved down to Florida where the weather was warmer all year round. Within only a few years of living in Florida, she died in 1969 at a ripe old age, just five days short of her seventy-sixth birthday.
From 1969 to 1974
- The CEEA discontinued the Children’s Bible Camp program after Aunt Rose’s death in 1969, but continued to rent out the property to various organizations for their use during the summer months. The camp property fell largely into disuse after 1969 until 1974, when the ABMJ rented the property for a one-week, one-off summer Bible study camp in 1974.
From 1974 to 1978
- Dan Rigney approached Arnold regarding the special one-time Bible study camp for the new Jewish believers to take place during the summer of 1974. They both concluded that the campsite in the Adirondack Mountains would be an ideal spot to rent for their discipleship program
- The ABMJ funded all the expenses relating to this one-week Bible study camp for the new Jewish believers.
- In the summer of 1975, the camp ran for a second season for two weeks. They continued to run the camp the following summer of 1976, expanding it further to three weeks of teaching. From the 1977 season onward, the summer program was three weeks in length.
- The ABMJ continued to underwrite all the expenses for the study camp from the first season in 1974 through the fourth summer season in 1977. However, that would be the last time for the ABMJ to fund the camp.
- On the first of December 1977, Ariel Ministries was born.
- Thus, Ariel Ministries took over the fifth season of the camp program to run it under its own banner in the summer of 1978, calling it the Ariel Discipleship Camp. Ariel Ministries had the privilege of completing the fifth year of the five-year program cycle in the summer of 1978.
- As had been the practice of the camp under the ABMJ, Ariel Ministries continued to rent the campsite from the CEEA for the three weeks in summer 1978.
From 1979 Onward
- Before the sixth summer camp of 1979, the Board of the CEEA met and voted to lease the property to Ariel Ministries, from the summer of 1979 onward, for ninety-nine years at the price of one dollar per year!
- Ariel Ministries would now have full control over the 265 acres of campsite to be developed as a study camp for Jewish believers. As a tribute to Aunt Rose on whose heart God had laid a burden to reach the Jewish people, Ariel Ministries decided to change the name of the campsite to Camp Shoshanah, a Hebrew word meaning “rose.”
In Early 1995
- Years earlier, Aunt Rose had gifted Burl Haynie a cumulative total of 200 acres of land adjacent to the campsite. In early 1995 (the year before Burl Haynie passed away in mid-1996), Burl Haynie had gifted to Ariel Ministries the 200 acres of land that he had owned.
From 1998 Onward
- During the twenty-fifth camp season in summer 1998, a pastor from the CEEA presented Arnold with the deed to the Camp Shoshanah property, making Ariel Ministries the legal owner of the 265 acres of land! In essence, the CEEA sold the property to Ariel Ministries for the total legal price of one U.S. dollar! As such, the CEEA knew that they fulfilled Rose Burnham’s desire to see the campsite used for Jewish ministry.
- Combined with the 200 acres that Burl Haynie had gifted to the ministry in early 1995, Camp Shoshanah in 1998 comprised 465 acres of land, now completely owned by Ariel Ministries.
- The six-week Summer Program of Messianic Jewish Studies begins
- Ariel’s School of Messianic Jewish Studies opens as a one-year certificate program, alongside the existing summer program open to all.