Center Connections 2-Apr- 2020: Exodus or Exile?


A message from the Director:
What is this – Exodus or Exile?

Which biblical narrative best describes this current COVID-19 crisis: Exodus or Exile?With the Govenor’s stay-at-home order, life’s been turned upside down. Many businesses are closed and churches no longer offer public worship services. It’s tempting to think of the crisis to be like the Babylonian exile. The Israelites were taken away to a foreign land and no longer had the familiar places to live, work, play, and pray.

As tempting as it may be to look at the restrictions as a forced exile, it might be better to identify our present plight as an Exodus. Like the Exodus, it’s going to be a long and difficult trek for us across a hostile landscape, but in the end God is going to show us to a better place.

Perhaps it’s both Exodus and Exile. As we approach Holy Week, we turn to the passion of Christ which magnificently combines the two grand biblical themes. Jesus, exiled from his heavenly home into our foreign land, became the way for all to return home to the Father. Jesus, the lamb that was slain, completed his Exodus by way of Calvary and thereby paved the path for all to enter the promised land.

Whether Exodus or Exile, uniting our hearts and minds to the passion of Christ may be the key to make sense of the world around us, and ultimately guide us through these difficult times into a better place.

May the Lord be with you.

Deacon Scott D. Gilfillan
Director, Catholic Conference Center

Looking for a safe, sacred place to exercise, pray, or reflect?

Consider spending a little time at the Catholic Conference Center. The Governor’s executive order permits outdoor exercise, and provides that religious institutions may remain open provide they meet the proper guidelines. We get very few outdoor visitors, so social distancing and gathering with larger groups pose no problem. This means that in near isolation you can walk the trails, pray the Rosary, meditate on the Stations of the Cross, or spend a little time before some of the statues. If interested, please call (828.327.7441) or email (info) before you visit. Indoors, we also have a beautiful adoration chapel we’ll be glad to make available by appointment. If you feel like you just need someone to talk to and process these extreme circumstances – spiritually or emotionally – give our Director, Deacon Scott D. Gilfillan, a call.

Meet our new staff…

Over the last couple of months, we’ve assembled some amazing talent to take care your next event at the center. Even now, during the crisis, they’re diligently working behind the scenes to make sure your next experience at the center is your best experience.

Kris Cordes – Hospitality Manager

Kris is not a new face, but in a new position. She’ll now be your contact to help plan your next event, from its initial conception to a successful outcome. During her four years as Executive Chef, she became known and loved by our guests. She graciously greeted each person as they entered the dining area and lovingly accommodated their culinary tastes. We look forward to Kris doing the same as she did in the dining area, elevating the entire experience a person has when they come to the center.

Matt Baldwin – Executive Chef

Matt will be taking over as our new Executive Chef. He has a culinary degree and some unique experience that will continue the high standards set in the dining area. Matt has had success in opening and operating his own restaurant, he has served as the Executive Chef around parts of the world with a sailing regatta team, plus has a catering and cheffing background in a number of restaurants and high-end venues.

Ashley Dowdy – Guest Services and Facilities

Ashely is a dynamo of talent and perfectly suited to the varied roles she needs to fill. Her skillset spans from website design to HVAC repair, from graphic artist to carpenter. Ashley will be there to handle just about anything that might arise during your event.

We miss you…

The photo is bittersweet. With a cherry tree in full bloom, it highlights some of the tremendous beauty of the center, from the inspired landscaping to the signature architectural features. In the background is the Stations of the Cross meditation trail. That’s the ‘sweet’ part.. The photo also shows a row of empty chairs, a bitter reminder that we’re unable fulfill our mission of being a place of renewal and growth. On a more personal level, we’re unable to do what we love: help people to encounter the divine through our acts of loving service and gracious hospitality. We hope to see you soon.

Normally we highlight a few upcoming events in our newsletter. Things are in such a state of flux we’ve been juggling a lot of dates and events. Hopefully next newsletter we’ll have some nice offerings.

Call to reserve a place for your event now!

Believe it or not, we are presently filling up February and March of 2021, so it is not too soon to call to reserve a place for you next event.

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“Come away to a secluded place and rest awhile.” Mk 6:31
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Hickory, NC 28602-9049

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