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Our History

Serving our community since 1947

Tabernacle Construction-Enhanced-SR_edit

Charis Camp was founded in 1947, by Reverend E.A. Lieske and Reverend A.G. Knopp with the heart of bringing people to Christ through camp experiences.  The first building on site was the Tabernacle, built that same year. Campers slept in old farm buildings on site (a chicken coop and a small barn). Over the years, the property continued to expand with more campers needing more space and the desire to have year-round accommodations.

Cinder block dorm-style cabins were added in the 1960s and the current dining hall began its life across the road from the original dining hall (no longer part of Charis Camp's property). The dining hall was added to three more times, the final time being in the early 90s when a walk-in cooler and freezer were added to accommodate larger, more regular groups. In the 1970s, a gym was built to allow for all-weather activity.

As groups began to grow and demand increased, the Charis board decided there was a need for new accommodations. To that end, the girl’s dorm, east of Dunville Creek, was torn down and replaced with the present lodge. It welcomed its first guests in 2000 and has been central to our summer camps and rental groups for more than 20 years since.

The following years saw many improvements to the camp that sought to create new spaces to grow, explore and experience Jesus. A low-ropes challenge course was added, as well as a large outdoor climbing tower, the dining hall basement was renovated to add more sleeping facilities, and the boy’s dorms were renovated into cozy and versatile cabins with bathrooms and kitchenettes.

As we saw new demand for spaces to accommodate church and marriage retreats as well as family camps, in 2012 the new chalet was completed. A hotel style building, it is geared to families and couples. In 2014 the Tabernacle received a renovation, restoring it for use as an additional meeting space in time to celebrate our 70th anniversary in 2017.

As Charis approaches the next era of ministry, we are looking at ways to efficiently, effectively use our current infrastructure to accommodate more guests. The years of COVID (2020-2022) were very hard for camps all over BC. It's difficult to be a ministry that gathers people when gathering is not permitted. Looking to the future, we are redeveloping some of our facilities to be more flexible and cost-effective; ready to meet the changing needs of our community and neighbourhood. The dining hall and gym will be transformed into new spaces for Cedar and Moss to provide cozy and inviting spaces for our community to meet, rest and gather, staff/discipleship housing for more effective year-round ministry, and space for smaller groups to meet as well as a larger dining hall to better accommodate the number of people that we are able to have on site. Offices will be moved into the area that now houses the kitchen which will make room for more guests in the lodge and more staff in the offices. Learn more about this project and see how you can help us into the future!

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