Silver Lake Conference Center has a new partner in its efforts to create a more just and welcome community. After more than a year of conversation and organization, a Hartford-based non-profit known as Re-Center just completed a week-long retreat at the Connecticut Conference’s outdoor ministry site.
The Re-Center is a nonprofit company that partners with people and organizations to improve the lives of those in marginalized communities. Their mission, according to the Re-Center website, is a commitment “to building an equitable and just world where everyone has what they need to grow and thrive.” Earlier this year, staff from the CT Conference attended a racial justice training program led by Re-Center staff at the their Hartford location. The program held at Silver Lake focused on racial justice training and experiences for students from two Hartford area schools: Sunset Ridge Middle School in East Hartford and the R.J. Kinsella Magnet School for Performing Arts in Hartford.
Students from these schools have spent much of the year working on justice projects in partnership with staff from the Re-Center. On Tuesday, April 30, 35 students from these schools arrived at Silver Lake for a 4-day experience to dive deeper into their projects and the work of racial justice. They were met by Re-Center staff and teachers who had been preparing at Silver Lake since the Friday before.
This partnership marks a new way of using the outdoor ministry site outside of the Summer Camp season. Much of the Conference Center’s activity during the non-summer months revolves around weekend retreats, often with churches and smaller groups. The Re-Center’s week-long use of the facility represents another avenue of using the site more fully while maintaining Silver Lake's vision and mission.
“The Silver Lake partnership with Re-Center is really exciting for us both,” said Silver Lake Executive Director Rev. Ryan Gackenheimer. “The focus of our ministries and missions align wonderfully. We are both helping young people grow as leaders and creating a world that is more welcoming, just, and inclusive. We look forward to exploring how we will partner together in other ways as well.”