Regional News

Brenda Murphy to Retire as Crystal Conference Center Director

August 15, 2018 Published by Neil Topliffe

Brenda Brooks-Murphy, camp manager at Crystal Conference Center on Crystal Lake, Frankfort, Michigan, has announced her retirement as of the end of the 2018 camping season.

In her letter of retirement, Murphy reflected, “For the past 32 years, the opportunity of working in the Outdoor Ministries program of Camp Crystal has enriched my life immeasurably.”

She noted, “The memories of camp and the friends we have made here will, I am sure, help with this transition. The value of summer camp at Crystal Conference Center is striking in so many scenes of those memories.  Nothing more so than in the faces of my grandchildren at Elementary Camp, or in the sounds of voices singing “Sanctuary” at closing worship.  It is very hard to leave.”
Murphy will continue her onsite camp director responsibilities through early October.

“The retirement of Brenda after thirty-two years brings an era of significant, dedicated service to an end,” noted Rev. Eugene W. James, Jr., Regional Minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Michigan Region. “The joy that she and her husband, Dick Murphy, derived from seeing how the ministry impacted the lives of so many people, particularly the children, and how precious those sacred grounds are to them, was manifested in the long hours and hard work they put into fulfilling the responsibilities of the position.
“Brenda’s knowledge of the rules and regulations that govern the camping industry, the relationships she established in the community and with her peers, her relationships with volunteers, vendors, suppliers, service providers, and regulators were invaluable in enabling her to maintain a steady operation of the facility,” James added.

Jill Forton, Senior Minister at Cascade Christian Church, Grand Rapids, and program director for Michigan Disciples camps at Crystal worked closely with Brenda over many of her 32-year leadership.

“Every child, teenager and adult who has attended camp at Crystal has had a safe and remarkable experience in Christ due to the ministry of Brenda Murphy,” Forton reflected. 

“Along with her incredible husband Dick, Brenda has brought Crystal Conference Center to a high level of warm hospitality with delicious meals, well cared for grounds, and expanded facilities,” she added.   “God alone knows the hours Brenda has given to the Michigan Region’s Camp Ministry, but many of us know we are better people because of the camp community we have shared with Brenda.  May God be with her in this retirement as the campers of the Michigan Region rise up and call her blessed!”

Beginning this fall, Crystal Conference Center and the Michigan Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will be working with United Camps, Conferences & Retreats, an established not-for-profit management organization, to manage the Crystal Lake conference center. With the decision by Murphy to retire, they will begin a search process in the coming months to hire a new Site Director for the 2019 season.

Crystal Conference Center has been part of the Crystal Lake community for more than 100 years, providing camping and conference facilities for church groups, other not-for-profits, families, meetings, reunions, and weddings during the summer season. It is owned and operated by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Michigan Region.