The New Windsor Conference Center on the campus of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., ceases operation as of June 4. After this week’s chapel service at the denomination’s General Offices, staff called for prayer for those leaving employment with the Conference Center and expressed thanks for their work for the church.
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The three regular fulltime employees who conclude their service with the church once the Conference Center closes are Ella Patterson, Fay Reese, and Rita Taylor. Other employees who have been working at the Conference Center on a temporary and/or part-time basis are Sheila Becker, Kenneth Bryant, Janet Comings, Nathan Gibson, Vira Knights, Ridge Millberry, Virginia Ryan, Joseph Wade, Charlotte Willis, and David Zaruba.
The decision to cease Conference Center operations was made by the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board at its Fall 2011 meeting. The board determined that "operating the New Windsor Conference Center is not in alignment with the directional goals of our strategic plan and not financially sustainable" (find the original Newsline report, which includes financial background for the decision, at www.brethren.org/news/2011/board-decides-to-cease-conference-center-operation.html ).
The board’s decision is not about the Brethren Service Center property as a whole nor the ministries that continue there including Brethren Disaster Ministries, Children’s Disaster Services, Material Resources, On Earth Peace, SERRV, IMA World Health, and the Mid-Atlantic District Office.
The center is making provisions to meet continuing needs to provide hospitality for volunteers who serve at the Material Resources program, IMA World Health, and SERRV. The center will transition Zigler Hall to become the Zigler Hospitality Center, initially keeping open several guest rooms and the kitchen and dining facilities to accommodate volunteer groups as needed. Cori Hahn will serve as hospitality coordinator and Walter Trail will manage the kitchen and dining facilities. Other possible uses for the buildings of Old Main and Windsor Hall are being explored.