It is with great sadness and regret that I write this article on behalf of the Board of Management for the Lavrock Camp and Conference Centre. The Lavrock Camp and Conference Centre was officially opened in 1990 by The Right Rev’d Martin Mate. The Centre was named after the Bishop’s ship that sailed into many bays and coves around the Island of Newfoundland and Labrador long before cars were the mode of transportation. It was the only mode of transportation for the Bishop to carry out his sacramental ministry in the diocese. Just as the ship Lavrock is no longer with us, soon our camp and conference centre, Lavrock, will be a thing of the past.
This is to inform you as members of the Anglican Diocese of Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador that the Board of Management brought forth a motion to close Lavrock permanently and divest ourselves of it. This was not done lightly but following a review of the financial state of our diocese. The amount of work that needed to be done on the site was impossible to do without a significant investment of funds. There was little choice left but to close it permanently. This motion was accepted by the Executive Committee of the diocese.
Since the motion was carried, we have been seeking new potential owners, but to this date we have seen some interest but no firm commitment. We have a realtor who is assisting us to find new owners.
Why is the centre sailing into the sunset? Many of you will be disappointed by the decision made by the Board of Management, but others will be excited about it. We cannot blame it all on COVID-19 or the financial situation of the diocese. Many of us have seen this day coming for many years, but the pandemic and current finances have sped up the process. The biggest problem which we have faced over the past number of years was that parishes or the diocese were not using the centre in the way we should have. Recently, only two parishes in the diocese have been using it on regularly basis. The other church groups using it have been the Diocesan ACW and DAMA. Other people using the centre are what we called “external groups.” We are not in a financial position to continue providing this type of service. We have no one to blame for this closure other than ourselves; we now are seeing this ship sail by us for the final time. Lavrock will be gone forever and we will never have another site like we have enjoyed for the past 32 years.
A number of years ago, we lost a couple of big supporters who were using the camp on a regular basis. The Army Cadet and the Cursillo movement were some of our big supporters. The church camps were cut to three weeks, and only operated during the summers. These things and more added to the problems that helped us to make a decision to close the camp. Without the help of our outside groups, we would have been closed for some time. The diocese tried to keep it going, knowing the writing was on the wall, but we had to make a decision that was best for the diocese at this time.
It is a sad day in our history as a church. But we know that God will open other doors to provide a place for our youth and adults to enjoy community and the things that Lavrock had offered for over 32 years.
Thank you for your support over those years and for giving of your time to help people to grow and have the experience of coming together and camping.
I want to thank the Board of Management for their hard work and commitment to Lavrock over the years, to the bishops who have served this diocese for the past 32 years and who have supported Lavrock through some difficult days. To those who have used the centre for many different reasons: we thank you for your support. Thank you to Mr. Todd Martin, Manager, and his team who have worked hard to make the centre self-supporting. Unfortunately, we had so much against us over the past few years.
Personally, I fought to save our centre for a number of years, but the time had come to make this motion to close it permanently and divest ourselves of it. We have lost the centre and this church will not have another place like the properties and grounds or the pond we had at Lavrock. Sorry to see it go but now we must move forth in faith and trust that all things work together for the good.