The new Diocesan Camp at Auchtembeddie in North West Manchester is hosting its first batch of campers this summer. The facility was dedicated on June 24 by the Bishop of Jamaica & The Cayman Islands, The Rt. Rev. Howard Gregory, following a well-attended Service at St. John’s Church, which is next door the property.
The ceremonial cutting of the ribbon at the main door to the building was done jointly by The Rt. Rev. Harold Daniel, retired Bishop of Mandeville, who was one of the first Diocesan camp Directors, and Mrs. Antoinette Wright-Dallen (Aunt Netty), who also served in that capacity for many years.
The Service was attended by civic leaders headed by the Custos of Manchester, the Hon. Sally Porteous, who brought greetings; and Councillor Rohan Kennedy of the Mile Gully Division who represented Member of Parliament, Mr. Mikael Phillips. Clergy, church workers, youth, and members of the community, also participated in the spirited worship accompanied by the versatile Genesis Steel Band from the Black River Parish Church.
Bishop Gregory, in his opening remarks, recalled that he was one of the first campers at the former Bishop Swaby Memorial Centre in Negril, which over the years, could no longer accommodate the growing number of youngsters, and was sold. He said significant funds were invested in the development of the new camp site which once housed the Auchtembeddie Primary School; and he expressed the hope that the facility would “continue to be a place of nurture for young people.”
In his presentation, Mr. Craig Mears, Director of Youth Ministry, explained that the Diocesan Summer Camps provided “whole person ministry to assist youth in becoming productive citizens grounded in Christ. This is the best gift we can give our children,” he stated.
Youth was represented on the programme by Master Le’Andre Saddler, who sang; and Master Josh Pratt, who shared his experience as a camper.
The refurbished three-storey building has five dormitories which can accommodate up to 100 campers at a time; private sanitary facilities; kitchen and a spacious dining/multi-purpose room. Other features to be installed include a specialized audio-visual room, games courts, terraced walkways with gazebos; a solar water heater; external water storage tanks; and enclosed caretaker’s quarters.