… Derek Haigh of Lindisfarne writes of his concern that as well as other property disposals elsewhere, the Anglican Church now intends getting rid of a wonderful outdoors training facility for young people – the Mission Afloat camp at Montgomery Park, Coningham:

I am saddened to learn that the Anglican Church is planning to demolish buildings at Montgomery Park, Coningham, and subdivide the land into residential blocks for sale.

Montgomery Park has existed as a youth camp venue for more than 50 years. It was burnt out in the bushfires of 1967 but rebuilt with high-quality fittings. Thousands of young people have benefited from the camp in this time.

The present decade at the park has seen the development of Mission Afloat, a vibrant organisation offering nautical (learn to navigate, row a dinghy, sail a yacht, operate a powerboat) and other valuable outdoor experiences to young people of all denominations, under the guidance of a dedicated team of professionals. Adults have also gained much from what Mission Afloat provides.

I have recently had the privilege of meeting this team and seeing first-hand what they bring to young people – practical Christianity. Why on earth the church would wish to stifle this work is beyond me. I know that there have been many strong endorsements from various schools whose pupils have been to Mission Afloat.

In the absence of a cogent explanation from the Bishop as to what is to replace this splendid working concept, I can only conclude that a serious error of judgment has occurred. The Mission Afloat facility is unique.

The Bishop might also care to explain what is to happen to the park’s Chapel. This was transferred from Rowella in 1991 and houses memorials, and other artefacts, dating from the 1920s.