Fair Havens Camp & Conference Centre is about life change and relationships. Our desire is to see all who cross our path or journey with us be drawn into a closer relationship with God, our Creator and with others. We do this through the provision and facilitation of unique life changing experiences.
Located in Beaverton, Ontario, Canada, Fair Havens Camp & Conference Centre is a Christian, non-profit organization composed of 4 main areas: a Summer Family Camp, Retreat Centre, Outdoor Christian Education Centre, and a Youth Discipleship program called Stepping Stones.
The Fair Havens mission is to host and facilitate ‘life changing experiences to the glory of God’
To see families being encouraged and experiencing joy as they learn to navigate life based on God’s design and promises.
To see young people passionately following Jesus Christ; living purpose-filled lives; affecting and infecting all whom they meet with the life changing power of God.
To see Fair Havens sharing its God-given resources with other like-minded ministries for more effective and efficient Kingdom impact.
To faithfully and with integrity administer our God-given resources in pursuit of our vision and be led by a motivated and supported staff and volunteer community.
To provide a safe place that is proactively maintained, beautiful in nature and well-equipped to support our ministry vision.
Our staff and volunteer community will provide a clearly defined level of quality service, anticipating the needs of our guests and consistently over delivering on promised services.
(Most of the following is taken from “The Tree Well Planted” by Rev. Lauren Redinger)
As far back as the turn of the century, the Christian Workers’ Churches held camp meetings in Monroe Park on the shores of Lake Ontario in east Toronto. From the inception of the AGC in 1922, there was a longing to have a Summer Bible Conference for the several churches involved. That longing became a reality in August 1924 when a large farm on the north shore of Hamilton Bay was provided through the kindness and generosity of the Misses Toumsend. For seventeen years this ministry was known as the Oaklands Bible Conference.
Each summer notable speakers ministered at Oaklands, including Silas Fox, J.C. Macauley, Harry Rimmer, Harry Ironside, M.R. DeHaan and P.W. Philpott. Up to 1500 crowded in and around the huge tent, and by 1940 the AGC had to find another location as the park closed.
A Toronto attorney who also pastored the Missionary Tabernacle, Herbert E. Irwin, felt led to search for a new site. One hundred and sixty-seven acres of land near Gamebridge, Ontario on the Trent Canal near Lake Simcoe, became available at a cost of $10,000. At the suggestion of Mr. Irwin and his church board, half the cost was paid by the church and the other half by the AGC; Fair Havens was born, known at first as the Five Bay Bible Conference.
Though more than seventy years of age at the time, Pastor Irwin assisted in digging trenches for pipes and drains, and made it clear that the purpose of Fair Havens was to bind the churches together in fellowship and responsibility to the work. The present Irwin Chapel is a memorial to this godly man of vision.
Quotes from the 1941 Summer Bible Conference Report presented at the 20th Annual Conference of the AGC at Hope Gospel Church, Toronto, October 15-17, 1941:
“The Summer Bible Conference of the AGC was held at Five Bay Lodge, a spacious Summer Resort grounds, near Gamebridge, Ontario… There was little comparison between the Conference held at Gamebridge, and that held for so many years at Oaklands…
As you will no doubt realize there was much work to be done on the Conference grounds in order to get things ready for the Conference. This work was done gratuitously by several of our own pastors, who willingly donned overalls and old clothes, cleaned and renovated the barn which we used as a Tabernacle, and put the grounds in shape for the sporting program…
The ministry was ably taken care of by our own Pastors, who at their own expense gave us a week of their time in order to make this Conference possible… Pastor Bentley supervised the evangelistic work in the towns and villages around the Conference grounds. Two weeks of special ministry was provided by Pastor Peter Hoogendam of the Peoples Church, Montreal, and Rev. J.W. Mahood, President of the London Bible Institute… The average attendance was not large, averaging possibly 25 daily, Sundays between 50 and 100. The first holiday (long weekend) 200, the second 400, and the last which was Labour Day, possibly 100…
(end of quotes)
A 1941 brochure pictures A.N. Lambshead as President, R.J. Chubb as Director and S.A. Beard as Registrar and Secretary Treasurer. Room and board for one week cost $10.00. Through 1961, the use of the facilities was limited mainly to summer events, and overall interest was steadily increasing. That first year ended with a balance of $42.08.
Albert F. Robins, Pastor of a church and Secretary of the AGC, was the Director and Manager of Fair Havens.
At a special session of the AGC Conference held on November 3, 1955, Rev. A.N. Lambshead, Chairman of the Bible Conference Committee, presented the financial report, stating that the Conference had experienced a good year. The total income from all sources amounted to $25,201.47 and total disbursements amounted to $19,611.33 leaving an operational profit less depreciation of $5,590.14.
In 1959, Ernie Dempster was the Chairman of the Fair Havens Committee. The weekly attendances were low and the camp was in desperate need of a vision. In 1960, Ernie approached Rev. William Crump (a teacher of Theology at Toronto Bible College) and his father-in-law, Rev. Ernest Falconbridge, to take on the leadership of the summer conference, a combination which fanned the flame of rapid growth. The Conference became a year round venture as the chapel and accommodations overflowed with people and a new vitality under this administration.
The grounds were developed, programmes enhanced, sports facilities upgraded and the ministry expanded more than ever. Having started part time in 1960, Bill and Ruth Crump became full time Directors from 1975 to 1981. The Crumps along with Ruth’s parents, Rev. and Mrs. Ernie Falconbridge, gave themselves fully to expanding the ministry of Fair Havens.
Bill Crump, a musician himself, created a high profile for quality music in the life of Fair Havens. The singing of hymns in the dining room before and after meals was a tradition enjoyed by all. With Bill leading the way, humour played a large part in camp life. Everyone looked forward to the annual Labour Day dunking of Mr. Crump in the canal, and many remember his leadership of wild volleyball games, and then there were his terrible golf games. These all contributed to the slogan of that era, “Where happy memories are made”.
Bill Crump had a true pastor’s heart, and there were many tears shed in quiet corners as people unloaded to Ruth and Bill.
In 1975, Bill and Ruth also pastored the newly formed Fair Havens Community Church which utilized the Fair Havens venue for many years prior to the construction of their own church building.
The following have served in leadership at Fair Havens
|Rev. Bill Crump||Director||1960-1981|
|Mr. Wally Baker||Director||1982-1986|
|Mr. Carl Smith||Director||1986-1988|
|Mr. Alan Grills||Director||1988-1995|
|Rev. George Bradford||Ministry Director (part time)||1995-2000|
|Mr. Glen Crow||Managing Director||1996-2000|
|Rev. David Gast||Ministry Director||2000-2002|
|Mr. John Friesen||Executive Director||2001 to 2014|
|Mr. James Herzog||Executive Director||2014 to 2016|
|Mrs. Liz Thompson||Executive Director||2016 to 2021|
|Mr. Brian Bylsma||Executive Director||2022 to Present|