Anglican Watch

Central Florida suspends operations of Canterbury Conference Center

Bishop Justin Holcomb

The Diocese of Central Florida is suspending operations at its Canterbury Conference Center amidst ongoing operational deficits of $30,000 to $40,000 a month. 

A corporate entity distinct from the diocese, the Canterbury board of directors voted unanimously to resign, leaving Bishop Justin Holcomb to work with diocesan leaders to identify new board members.

Located just outside Orlando, the property features a waterfront, two-story lodging building (think mid-century motel sans television and phones), a chapel, conference space, a firepit, a rock-climbing wall, and more. 

Open to diocesan, corporate, and other groups, Anglican Watch believes the conference center suffers from brand identity issues. 

Specifically, the conference center lacks a top-line identity, as it tries to be all things to all people.

Thus, if we asked ten people in the Orlando area to describe the place, most wouldn’t know what it is. Those who do would have little to add beyond the fact that it’s the diocesan conference center. 

In that sense, the conference center has become much like the Episcopal church: vaguely defined and lacking direction.

Anglican Watch staff has mixed reactions to the news. On the one hand, the current deficit should not have been allowed to continue for as long as it has. 

On the other hand, Bishop Holcomb is one of the few bishops we like and trust, due in large part to his kindness towards, and support of, church abuse victims. That extends to his non-anxious presence around such persons and his treatment of them as welcome in the church.

That contrasts sharply with most parishes, dioceses, and clergy, who treat critics as threats, pariahs, and even “domestic terrorists.”

Due to his sensible approach to these and other issues, we are confident that if any bishop can solve the issues at the conference center, Bishop Holcomb can.

His letter about the suspension of operations appears below.

Canterbury Conference Center

Canterbury Conference Center

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