Long-time Bull Valley retreat center Resurrection Center is closing up shop as we know it.
Four years ago, the organization borrowed $5 million to build more modern overnight facilities. It was more like a motel and less like a college dormitory. The dining and meeting rooms were also enlarged substantially.
The debt load has proven to be unmanageable for the Country Club Road retreat center.
Most of my experience with the facility has been with the Walk to Emmaus, a three-day interdenominational short course in Christianity sponsored by an evangelical part of the Methodist Church.
My introduction to its chapel was when newly-installed Rockford Bishop Thomas Doran came to Bull Valley to give one of my Desmond nieces first communion.
When I heard that our group would not be able to hold our fall retreat there, I called Director Jim Ivers and asked for details.
“We had expanded our facility (for) about $5 million,” Ivers said, “and we have tried to increase our occupancy over the last four years.
“We have not been able to get it to the place where we can handle the debt.
“The debt service is about $35,000 and our revenue has only been able to cover our operating expenses.
“So, he continued, “the Congregation of the Resurrection, our owners, is doing a feasibility study of what they might be able to do with the property and the building.”
“They are looking at faith-based senior living, condominiums, apartments. That planning is happening at levels above myself.
“No more conferences,” Ivers said. “Whether we will be able to do day events once the rennovations are completed, that’s one of the things we are looking to do. We won’t have any overnight accommodations.
“We are also looking at whether we can do retreat programs at other churches, schools, other retreat centers.”
Currently, the organization serves off-site retreats. It hopes to expand in that direction.
The $5 million in “bonds was issued with a banking organization,” Ivers said.
They have not fallen behind in their payments.
“It was a place where young men would spend a year in prayer and study,” Ivers told me.
“September 21st will be our last day,” he said.
The public can get a look at the facility at the Pro-Life Victory PAC pig roast on
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The picture of Resurrection Center’s Chapel was taken just after sunrise.