Methodist Rural Center History
“We Come to Worship – We Leave to Serve”
“Venimos a Adorar – Salimos a Servir”
The Methodist Rural Center was founded during the early 1950’s through the help of Bishop Amos Miller and friends of California. Leon and Dorothy Miller came to Costa Rica with missionary experience from a Rural Center in El Vergel, Chile, and established this Methodist Rural Center. Ralph and Mary Miller, Latin American III Missionaries, also bringing their experiences from South America, joined them in their efforts.
Besides being ministerial and lay leaders in the church, both couples of Millers were servants of the Lord, inspiring the rural people of the San Carlos region, in which the Center is located, to work toward a more abundant life as Christians. Under difficult conditions, they did pioneer work as they identified themselves with the needs of the developing northern area of Costa Rica. Their ministries included worship, Bible Study, and Christian counseling. They also worked with the Red Cross, hospitals, health clinics, schools, the municipal government, 4-S Clubs (4-H in the United States), governmental agricultural agencies, and the Co-Operatives of San Carlos.
In the early 1980’s, unfortunately, the Rural Center was deserted and abandoned. In 1987 Roger and Helen Spaulding were appointed to renew and rebuild the Rural Center. They came as volunteers for three years through The Mission Society for the United Methodist Church, without returning to the United States, and with the help of many Volunteer In Mission groups from many churches in the United States, the Spauldings reestablished the Rural Center. The Camping Ministry was once again possible through the refurbished chapel, dining hall, and cabins. A lovely amphitheater was built with a Meditation Walk to the beautiful stream with benches and scripture verses at intervals to encourage meditation.
After the departure of Roger and Helen Spaulding in 1991, Costa Rican pastors, Emmanuel and Lucy Mora and Rabid and Mireya Cedeño served as Directors for short terms.
In 1994, Bishop Luis Fernando Palomo appointed Rev. and Mrs. Marion Woods as Directors of the Rural Center. Since that time until the present, the reconstruction and improvements of the facilities has continued with the help of numerous Volunteer-In-Mission teams from the United States. Rev. Marion Woods passed away in 2016 and since that time Mary Woods has continued as the Director of the Rural Center.
The Methodist Rural Center exists as a Servant, using its facilities to help the Church. Our desire is to help those who come to grow in their encounter with God and to mature as loyal Christians, serving in His Name.