Bonny Hills to cease operations
On 6 August 2014, the UME Board approved the recommendation to cease operating the Uniting Venues centre at Bonny Hills in December 2014 and to proceed to sell the property.
This was notified to the Synod Standing Committee on Saturday 23 August 2014. This has not been an easy decision for the UME Board, given the wonderful ministry that has taken place at and through the Bonny Hills centre for over forty years. However, the changing demographics of the area, ageing of the facilities, operating losses for the last 8 years and the changing dynamics of the church have all meant that the venue has become economically unsustainable,.
Our hospitality ministry at Naamaroo, Elanora and the Centre For Ministry at North Parramatta will continue.
It is envisaged that the operation at Naamaroo can be strengthened and repositioned to address the need for adult retreat and conference accommodation; that Elanora can enhance its focus on family and school camps; and that the Centre For Ministry will continue to offer exceptional educational, conference and accommodation facilities.
Uniting Venues staff look forward to welcoming you in the near future! www.unitingvenues.org
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3 thoughts on “Bonny Hills to cease operations”
Not unexpected news and whilst the decision will be received with a mixed reaction, the commercial reality must also be acknowledged and respected. Bonny Hill served the church well during its life. Its beginning were humble, inspired by a vision of the late Rev Wyvile Thompson, then minister at Port Macquarie Methodist Church, and brought to life by the tireless efforts of members of the Mid North Coast district of the Conference. As young bank teller based at Port I have fond memories of time spent at the Bonny Hills site, particularly attendance at the October long weekend Crusader camp in 1967. These were formative times for young lives as we enjoyed the fellowship and in many cases, long term relationships, with those who shared our faith. The Uniting Church presence remains close to the original site through the life and witness of the Bonny Hills congregation.
The news of the Bonny Hills Conference Centre closing is a very disappointing and sad decision to me for many reasons. I was personal friends with the late Bill Welsh and Family who donated the land to the then Methodist Church, my parents were quite involved in assisting with the original building, I have enjoyed worshipping there many times over the years and our children enjoyed youth camps there from distant places. This venue has certainly served as a place for the development of many on their Christian journey, for many as a holiday camp, for many school groups and it has served our local community.
I understand that if a business is not viable then tough decisions need to be made. However it has become apparent that the Bonny Hills Uniting Church which is positioned on a unique corner of that land – a beautiful place to worship, an active congregation and a piece of land quite unsuitable for commercial development of any kind because of its proximity to bush land – will have to be abandoned as well. I find it most disturbing to think that land donated to the church can be wholly sold when a viable church community exists. Surely a decision can be made to accommodate the permanent presence of the Uniting Church in this area.
With 5 worship services remaining at Bonny Hills Uniting Church, before the doors are to be closed, here are some facts for any who care. United Venues are not simply selling a piece of land but destroying a vibrant congregation in a growing community: