The CRU Lake Mac Camp and Conference Centre has completed the first stage of an extensive redevelopment which will allow the number of young people hearing about Jesus on camp each year to increase from 4,500 to 25,000!
An Official Opening event was held at the redeveloped waterfront centre in Balcolyn on Monday 21st September. The event consisted of a ribbon cutting ceremony, afternoon tea and tour of the brand new facilities which include ensuite accommodation for 260 people, a 350-seat dining hall, boatshed, state-of-the-art outdoor activities and extensive meeting facilities.
Senator Hollie Hughes cut the ribbon to open the new facility in acknowledgement of the Federal Government’s very generous $5m contribution to the project through the Building Better Regions Fund. She said “I’m absolutely delighted that the federal government’s grant will enable this wonderful historic site to continue to bring joy to tens of thousands of campers and conference-goers in the coming years.”
Other distinguished guests in attendance included The Honourable Joel Fitzgibbon, Mr Greg Piper MP, and Kay Fraser the Mayor of Lake Macquarie City.
Our own Ben Kiujian with Mayor Kay Fraser
In 1946 Dr Leslie Parr donated the land upon which the campsite sits to CRU for the purpose of building a ‘centre for youthful Christian activity’. CRU have run residential camps for hundreds and thousands of boys and girls on the site since with many thousands finding faith and growing as disciples.
However, after many decades of constant use the aged facilities and small bed capacity meant that the facility was at risk of closure unless funds could be raised for redevelopment. Thankfully, after much prayer, a significant bequest, many generous donors and help from the Federal and State governments, a total of $25 million was raised to complete the first stage of development.
CRU CEO, Gary Hill, was keen to point out that “in actual fact the development has little to do with buildings but so much to do with providing opportunities for hundreds of thousands of young people to hear the gospel preached and lived out.” He said “There is a growing need for camping ministry as we seek to reach our communities. The use of fun-filled activities and the subsequent development of trusting relationships built on camp is key to meeting the needs of the current generation, allowing the authenticity of the Gospel to be shared.”
Mr Roger Corbett, Vice President of CRU, who helped lead the fundraising campaign, said “I love CRU because God works through it to convert young people, build up faith and train leaders. It is a movement which unashamedly serves the Lord Jesus Christ and its work has enormous consequences in the lives of young men and women.”
Of course the redevelopment has had its challenges, not least with COVID coinciding with the tail end of the redevelopment works. Current Chair of CRU, Dr Timothy Wright, shares “Whilst we were unable to run holiday camps over Easter, we were very thankful to run camps for over 570 children in the recent winter holidays, albeit with reduced numbers, and we have approval from NSW Health to run Spring Holiday camps too. We look forward to the day when this fantastic new facility will be filled to capacity with some 25,000 young people hearing of the hope that Jesus offers each year.”
15-year-old Ashleigh is one of many who had their first genuine encounter with Christ on a CRU Holiday Camp. She shares:
“CRU is so good at making faith relevant and interesting to young people and the witness and discipleship of the Crusader leaders helped me to make a decision for Christ and invite Jesus into my Heart.”
The CRU Lake Mac Camp and Conference Centre is now open and available for use by church, school and community groups. For enquiries, or to book, call 02 9653 1676.