We were overjoyed when the construction was completed and we were able to announce the long awaited opening of the Copper Ridge Conference Centre on March 2. On March 16, after three successful retreats were held, CRCC had to close due to the pandemic. After many weeks of adjusting protocols according to Public Health Orders and WorkSafe BC regulations, CRCC reopened on July 26, although only at half capacity, in order to maintain all health and safety precautions.
November 19 saw the sudden news of a second closure. As some of you will recall, this order came on a Thursday, just hours before a weekend retreat for men was to begin. You cannot imagine the near chaos that followed. A decision had to be made as to whether this order applied to CRCC. Phones were ringing everywhere – between members of the Board of Directors, the registrar, the director, the priest, and the administration staff. But the decision was made. Again, CRCC would be closed. All the participants had to be contacted and told that their retreat was cancelled. Instead of driving to CRCC, they unpacked their suitcases and reorganized their weekend plans.
The Administration team, too, had to throw all their preparations into reverse. They had purchased the food for the weekend, prepared the rooms, even added the homey touch of Christmas decorations for each table, and were waiting for the guests to arrive.
When they received the cancellation call they dismantled the table settings, put the decorations away, loaded the cars with the perishable foods, turned off all the building systems, and headed back to Vancouver. There was a quiet sense of loss in the air.
Then another change in direction! The retreat directors engaged technology to ensure that the retreat could go ahead, albeit virtually.
For all of us, in our own circumstances, this 2020 has indeed been disorienting!
However, the CRCC Administration Staff and the Board of Directors would like to say a very heartfelt thank you to our 465 subscribers for the prayers and support you have given to the conference centre during this past year. To our great surprise, the Virtual Race for the Ridge, exceeded its goal of $15,000 by $5000. A very generous supporter then matched the total donations. Our annual Chinese Dinner celebration has gone virtual as well and we now have an opportunity to purchase tables for 6 for lunch or dinner anytime up until May 31. For those unable to host their annual Christmas or New Year’s family meal at their home, you may want to reserve tables at Victoria Chinese Restaurant instead: https://copperridgeconferencecentre.ca/2020-dinner/. For all the uncertainty of 2020, we see an equal amount of creativity. God does write straight with crooked lines!
For those who have suffered sickness, loss of loved ones, or financial setbacks, we offer our prayers and consolation. For those who have created new ways of celebrating weddings, educating children, holding family events, facing the pandemic with a positive attitude and in that, giving encouragement and hope to others, we salute you.
Christmas 2020, in its own way may even be the most memorable ever! May the smallest joys in life be yours in abundance.
Merry Christmas and warmest greetings from the CRCC team to each and every one of you.