Regional News

Crystal Conference Center Opening Delayed

April 20, 2020 Published by Neil Topliffe

Further review set for end of May

“The 2020 summer Crystal Conference Center opening “will be delayed until both parties agree that the circumstances with the public health emergency created by COVID 19 are at a healthy and safe level to open Crystal Conference Center.” The decision was made jointly last week by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Michigan Region and United Camps Conferences and Retreats, camp managers.

The Michigan Disciples Crystal Commission subsequently confirmed the delay in opening the Conference Center in May, the normal timeline, and determined the camp will remain closed at least through June. Leaders will be reviewing the delay in late May to consider when Crystal can be safely opened.

Elementary Camp Postponed – Women’s Retreat Cancelled

The immediate result of the decision is that the June Elementary Camp has been postponed. “It is possible that there will be some other kind of Elementary camp later in summer, or a long weekend camp,” said Rev. Jill Forton, Elementary Camp Dean.  The Michigan Disciples Women’s Retreat has been cancelled. “We are thinking of possibly having an ‘online’ retreat of 2 or 3 hours on Saturday, June 27 that women can attend from wherever they are,” reported Diana Payton, President of Michigan Disciple Women.  

July Camps Anticipated if Restrictions Allow
The Crystal Commission, in consultation with UCCR, will be reviewing at the end of May the remaining Camp Crystal schedule for Middle School, High School, and Family of God Camps, as well as the fall Men’s Retreat.

“We remain cautiously optimistic that our July camps for Middle School, High School and Family of God will be held in July,” said Rev. Tim Murtaugh, Crystal Commission Chair. “Our decisions, however, will be determined in collaboration with health professionals to be certain our Crystal camps will be held assuring high levels of safety for our campers and staff, as well as by policies of the State of Michigan and Benzie County.”

Information about the July camps and registrations remain active at

“Your prayers are much appreciated for the campers who wish to come to Crystal, for the camp staff who are not certain of their schedule, for the impact this will have spiritually on those who are refreshed in Christ at camp,” noted Forton who also serves as Camp Crystal Program Coordinator.  “Our theme this summer is on prayer – longing to be invited, together, heard, guided, renewed, and changed.  May these be our prayers now for one another, for our families, for our churches and Region, and for all people in all places.”