Target:
Synod Council of the Eastern Synod, ELCIC
Region:
Canada

This past year, the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) closed Edgewood Camp and Conference Centre. Edgewood is comprised of 49.1 acres of land outside of Eden Mills, Ontario, just over 43 of which are undevelopable and include source water protection land* and wetlands. In addition, Blue Springs Creek, “the highest quality cold-water fish habitat in the Grand River watershed,” runs through Edgewood (Schiefer 3.1).** The property is an important recreational site for the bordering community of Eden Mills. In addition, many former campers, outdoor education students, and neighbours consider the land a sacred space.

Synod Council has approved a motion to sell the Edgewood property. The following letter asks that Synod Council to acknowledge that transfer of the property to a new owner will affect both the environment and local communities; the letter also reminds Synod Council of the ELCIC’s commitment to “safeguard creation” (LWF).**** We aim to send a clear message that the synod and the greater community are watching Synod Council’s decision-making process.

We recommend that the Synod pursue one of two options:

1) Donation of at least the approx. 43 acres of undevelopable land to a land trust or conservation organization

2) Sale of the property to an organization whose mandate includes ecological management of the land

Please sign the following letter and list your affiliation with Edgewood and/or the ELCIC and Synod (eg. member of _____ church or religious group, KAIROS, citizen of Eden Mills/Guelph/Rockwood/Eramosa Township, former CELPer/camper/staff member, outdoor educator (COEO), member of a specific conservation association etc.) Note: If your computer is using autofill, it will automatically put your postal code in the "Affiliation" space.

The letter will be presented to Synod Council by November 1st along with a proposal recommending a course of action. Sale or donation of the property includes many complicating legal factors that this letter cannot address but that will be addressed in the final proposal.

Please distribute this letter widely. Our goal is to collect signatures from all concerned parties and groups, but we specifically need signatures from each Ministry Area.

Works Cited:
*https://www.sourcewater.ca/en/source-protection-areas/resources/Documents/Grand/Grand_Approval_GRCArelease.pdf
** http://sg.crcrockwood.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Aquatic-Habitats-and-Fish-Survey-of-Brydson-Creek-Report-January-2015.pdf
*** https://2017.lutheranworld.org/content/creation-%E2%80%93-not-sale-131


Dear Synod Council,

We are members of the Eastern Synod and the ELCIC; members of sister churches and religious groups, members of KAIROS, former Edgewood campers; CELPers who attended the outdoor education program at Edgewood; groups who rented Edgewood; citizens of Eden Mills, Guelph, Eramosa and Nassagaweya Townships; members of the Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario; members of local conservation associations; and other concerned individuals.

As you execute the sale of the land formerly known as Edgewood Camp and Conference Centre, we remind you that:

• In commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, the ELCIC has affirmed its commitment to “safeguard creation” remembering that “We cannot possess and exploit, but shall cultivate and guard” creation (Kopp LWF);
• Blue Springs Creek, “the highest quality cold-water fish habitat in the Grand River watershed,” runs through Edgewood (Schiefer 3.1);
• As a member of KAIROS, the ELCIC is called to pursue “protecting water and watersheds" (KAIROS);
• The Ministry of the Environment designated Edgewood and the wetland located there as a source water protection zone for Guelph and the surrounding area;
• Edgewood is an important recreational site for the neighbouring community of Eden Mills. The transfer of the property to new owners and any development of the land affects Eden Mills;
• Edgewood, and the plants, animals, waters, trees and earth that it comprises, are a sacred space and spiritual home for many campers, outdoor education students, church members, and neighbours.

We recommend that the Synod pursue one of two options:

1) Donation of at least the approx. 43 acres of undevelopable land to a land trust or conservation organization

2) Sale of the property to an organization whose mandate includes ecological management of the land

Thank you for your consideration. We will be following the process closely as you discern Edgewood’s future.

Sincerely,



Works Cited:
* https://2017.lutheranworld.org/content/creation-%E2%80%93-not-sale-131
** http://sg.crcrockwood.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Aquatic-Habitats-and-Fish-Survey-of-Brydson-Creek-Report-January-2015.pdf
*** https://www.kairoscanada.org/what-we-do/ecological-justice
**** https://www.sourcewater.ca/en/source-protection-areas/resources/Documents/Grand/Grand_Approval_GRCArelease.pdf

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