A Reflection by Rev. John M. Gantt, Interim Conference Minister
The Conference Board of Directors voted to sell Pilgrim Hills camp and concentrate on development of Templed Hills. It was a long overdue decision.
Members of the Conference have expressed sadness and disappointment, of course.
Nearly every message received about this action has been accompanied by a sense of relief that finally a decision has been made which now allows us to move toward a new day of Faith Formation ministry.
Nearly 100% of the responses and comments received have been gracious, sensitive and respectful. Thank you for the thoughtful ways you have supported the Conference at this critical moment.
The Board is now at work on numerous follow up tasks required by the plan to sell Pilgrim Hills and move programming to Templed Hills for the 2018 season.
The Division of Outdoor Ministries will help our 2017 camp directors offer opportunities to say goodbye to Pilgrim Hills. There will be a Conference-wide celebration and decommissioning service at a date yet to be determined near the end of the summer season. Nearly simultaneously, others are crafting a business plan and strategy for further development of Templed Hills and outdoor ministry.
As the first round of repairs and refurbishing is identified, we’ll be ready to use some volunteer work groups. We have heard from several congregations which are eager to get started!
A Faith Formation task force is contemplating a design for an overall concept of Faith Formation for Ohio Conference which will include outdoor ministry as one part of its proposal.
As if all that were not enough, the all-Ohio Visioning Team, which includes representatives of every association, has been able to move in a new direction. Significant energy is being devoted to resolving nagging and persistent questions regarding the vitality of the Conference and its Associations, and cultivating a responsible stewardship of staff, financial resources, and programming. Expect a report prior to the Annual Gathering in September and discussion as part of the annual gathering agenda.
The most important message, however, is to acknowledge the many generous and gracious responses of Ohio Conference members and friends. This has been a difficult time, and you have made it manageable.
Rev. John M. Gantt
Interim Conference Minister