From Linda Anderson, Director

I am writing these words on Thanksgiving Monday, with many swirling thoughts and impressions about thankfulness. I am thankful that:

  for the past month I have been on sabbatical, spending time at other education and retreat Centres.

  we live in a country where each person has a vote.

  here in Canada we are still relatively secure financially. However, why do we think that financial systems that are predicated upon continuous growth forever and ever will not fail?

  I am privileged to associate with people who seek deep meaning in life and who listen for the divine within creation. My work includes challenge, satisfaction and deep joy.

  Calling Lakes Centre has benefited from gifts of love, labour and money over the past year.

And so it is that with a thankful heart I write the following paragraphs which describe some of the reality of life at Educational and Retreat Centres.

I have discovered that the Centres have a deep foundational commonality of purpose. Even more important are the spiritual understandings related to community, methods of learning and personal transformation and the desire to offer hospitality to all kinds of people. The Centres have different rhythms to their program life yet programming always includes spiritual growth, justice making, inclusion of all ages and lots of laughter and enjoyment.

However, I wonder why it is that the other commonality that unites the Centres is the struggle for financial sustainability? All the Centres I visited this year – Five Oaks, Sorrento and Naramata – are living ‘on the edge’ just like Calling Lakes Centre. We have lots of life and spirit, lots of people who attend our programs, individuals and organizations who visit and use our facilities, but we struggle to break even and perhaps to build up a surplus. All of the Centres were established in the 1950’s as part of the wave of interest in providing learning opportunities for lay people. All of us have facilities that need to be renovated and expanded. Naramata is in the midst of a $3 million financial campaign and Sorrento is embarking on a $10 million campaign. Five Oaks is preparing for such a campaign and Tatamagouche, the fourth United Church Centre has also been conducting a financial campaign.

In our desire to be accessible to all people, all of the Centres are charging registration fees for programs that do not cover the entire cost for the program itself plus the foundational costs of keeping the Centre open. Therefore in order to break even on operations, the difference is made up from the income from ‘commercial use’ and from the support of the church and faithful donors upon which each Centre depends. But not one Centre has been able to build up a fund for future renovations and expansion. You may guess that this will not be our final word on this topic!

And thus, I say to you, our Friends, please give generously again this year, doing your part to keep Calling Lakes Centre living out its mission:

The purpose of Calling Lakes Centre is to provide a sacred space where all people are welcome:

l to search  l to question  l to learn  l to be challenged  l   to rest

l to find the Holy within and around them.

The Centre stands with those who seek justice and resist evil.
It encourages, facilitates and supports learning, growth and transformation.

Calling Lakes Centre intentionally welcomes all people regardless of age, gender, race,
sexual orientation, differing abilities, ethnic background or economic circumstances.

The Centre commits itself to care for its building and land so that the Centre may be a model of environmental sustainability. The staff models the Centre’s understanding of community and offers hospitality that is safe, mutual and respectful.

Other articles from this Echo:
Courage to Lead: Circle of Trust Retreat

Greening Our Lives, Community and Church:

    ~ Small steps lead to deep change

    ~ Straw Bale Building

Our Thanks!

In Memory of the Ferguson's





Copyright © 2006 Calling Lakes Centre
Box 159, Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan Canada S0G 1S0
Phone: 306-332-5691 Fax:306-332-5264
Email: office@callinglakes.ca