Original purposes behind a God-oriented retreat center renewed through vision of family, others
By JOHN FORTMEYER
CARLTON — With a fresh and renewed dedication to God’s purposes, a quiet and scenic 21-acre site near this Yamhill County town seems designed, more than ever, to reflect His peace.
Beautifully renovated under its current ownership, the Brookside Inn at 8243 N.E. Abbey Road was founded decades ago as a Christ-centered retreat center called His Hiding Place. In 1994, Jim and Linda May arrived from California with a calling to build a place of healing and renewal — believing, in fact, that it would also be a place where God would heal their own marriage.
The Mays built the inn with a solid foundation of Scripture and prayer and operated it until 2009, when they sold it to another party and retired to southwest Washington. The new owners changed the name to the Brookside Inn and operated it as a bed and breakfast, but as a secular business and not with any openly Christian orientation.
After about three years, the facility went back up for sale, and it was purchased by Jeff Newville, a Wilsonville real estate developer whose initial goal was simply to renovate the inn and “flip” it to another buyer.
But it wasn’t long before Newville and two other followers of Christ were brought together — in their eyes, clearly through divine orchestration — with a new plan. Rita Wolff, a Yamhill County real estate broker, showed the inn and property to local resident Jerry Tindall. Tindall, his wife Erika and their five children had leased and operated a Carlton-area farm, but felt God’s leading to leave that and await their next assignment.
“I clearly felt the peace of God,” recalled Tindall about first seeing the inn property. “I felt it was amazing.”
Wolff, for her part, said she immediately felt that God was up to something.
“I knew it was a divine appointment,” she said. “I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that Jerry was supposed to be here.”
One reason Tindall’s attention was gripped was that he saw the property could demonstrate what he describes as a “holistic stewardship of land, food and family.” That philosphy had motivated him in 2012 to found Grow International (grow-international.com), which encourages people to grow their own food. Tindall realized there was a tremendous need for this while he was visiting communities in West Africa and the United States.
Of Brookside’s 21 acres, three acres is a quiet fishing pond; the remainder comprise wooded hills, trails, and landscaped grounds that include numerous waterfall features and a large meadow framed by trees and a neighboring vineyard.
In the inn building itself, its six guest rooms all open up to a two-story community room. As a reminder of the retreat center’s original focus, the words “His Hiding Place” remain carved in the fireplace mantle. The inn has a commercial kitchen and an event room that can accommodate up to 40 people; the land around the building provides an outdoor setting for other large groups and events.
The beautiful facility and setting clearly captivated Tindall. But there was one big snag — he simply didn’t have the money to purchase the inn. He soon concluded that Brookside was not in his family’s future.
However, he says, his wife felt differently.
“I think she secretly kept the faith, but I was moving on,” he said.
In the meantime, Newville had learned about the Tindalls, about their devout faith in Christ, and of their unique vision for Brookside. He became convinced that they were meant to have the property.
So Newville, the Tindalls and Wolff met there to ponder how it could happen. They were joined by the Mays, who came down from Washington for the meeting because of their ongoing desire to see the property again used for God’s purposes.
The Lord was present, said Wolff. “It was a really surreal experience. Everyone said, ‘This isn’t an if, but a how.’ ’’
What they worked out was an initial two-year lease of the property from Newville, from 2015 through 2017, facilitated through Northwest Christian Com-munity Foundation, a Portland-based agency that works to connect donors and investors with faith-based causes.
With the Tindalls to serve as resident managers of the property, the plan called for a newly organized 501c3 non-profit to pick up the lease from the foundation in 2017, and then fully acquire the property in 2019 from Newville.
Within 60 days of first seeing the property, the Tindalls moved in and reopened Brookside in June 2015, and have since operated it as both a bed and breakfast and as a special events and meetings center in the middle of Oregon’s popular wine country. Reflecting their attitude toward healthy eating, they utilize their own onsite organic garden, free-range chickens, and commitment to fresh, responsibly grown food to give guests a true farm-to-table experience. They also partner with local farms.
Having run the facility now for more than a year, the Tindalls believe more than ever that Brookside is a sacred site where people can connect with God and with other. Their goal is to offer not only a taste of Heaven’s abundance through hospitality and seasonal local food, but also to extend the love of Christ to all visitors.
Desiring to see the property continue as a place for outreach, the Tindalls are looking for those interested in assisting purchase of the site. An $800,000 down payment is due next March 1, toward a final full purchase price of $2.3 million, targeted for two years later.
“We really feel the need to protect the purpose of this property for generations to come,” Tindall said.
A seven-member board guides the new non-profit organization, and all now share Tindall’s vision. “Every time God has shown what is happening here, He has released new people and resources,” said Bruce Smith, a retired businessman who relocated from the Midwest and is enthusiastically serving on the board.
Tindall believes that a key to securing the site is raising awareness of its beauty and potential for ministry. “It has to be about getting people out here,” he said.
Tindall can be reached at 503-852-4433 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to brooksideinn-oregon.com