BC: United Church-linked Naramata Centre is closing

A photo of the Naramata Centre in the Okanagan, BC. Source.

Sadness, loss and grief.

unnamed-3CUPE members on the picket lines at the Centre of Naramata. Penticton Western News file photo

That’s how Gerry Anderson describes the mood for the Centre at Naramata the day after announcing the 68-year-old spiritual centre would be closing permanently.

“It is with deep regret and heartfelt sadness that the board of directors of the Naramata Centre Society announces that the Centre at Naramata will cease operations and close immediately,” reads the board’s release, issued late Wednesday afternoon.

But the months-long strike that has already kept the doors closed through most of the past year isn’t why the Centre is closing, according to Anderson, one of the society’s directors.

“We are not shutting the doors because of the strike. We think it is just a symptom of our bigger issues,” said Anderson. The labour dispute, he explained, was just one of many hurdles keeping the Centre from competing with similar operations.

“The place is 68 years old. A lot of the buildings are 50 years old and more,” he said. “It required so much of an investment of capital to bring it up to a competitive standard that we couldn’t see our way through that”…

The Naramata Centre, run by the “progressive” United Church of Canada, is in the Okanagan and served as a spiritual retreat.

I cannot evaluate his statement that the strike was not responsible, but I do know that the United Church membership rolls are steadily declining as aged members die off and are not replaced.

Who wants to join a church that has a proud atheist serving as a minister?