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Glorieta’s first major building project in nearly 25 years begins

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–Volunteers and staff of LifeWay Glorieta Conference Center broke ground June 29 for the first major building project at Glorieta in nearly 25 years.

The Hall of States lodge, built more than 40 years ago, will be razed and replaced with a new 60-room hotel, which will be completed in time for the 2006 summer conference schedule.

Extensive renovation projects over the last three years have updated many of Glorieta’s buildings, including all of the youth dorms. But as one of the oldest buildings, “the deficiencies of the Hall of States make it impractical to simply renovate,” said Mike Arrington, LifeWay Christian Resources vice president for corporate affairs.

In addition to gaining modern amenities, the rooms of the new hotel will be 40 percent larger in size.

“We consider Glorieta holy ground,” Arrington said. “People come here and sense the presence of God, and people come knowing they will meet with God.” In the same vein, he added, “we need to serve our guests and accommodate them in whatever way possible.”

The new hotel will retain the name Hall of States to reflect the historical commitment made to Glorieta by Baptist conventions in the western United States, said LifeWay President James T. Draper Jr.

“This building was made possible over 40 years ago because several state conventions contributed funds for its construction,” Draper said at the groundbreaking. “It is only fitting that our new building continues to reflect that name.”

Draper reflected on the history of the Glorieta conference center — first known as Glorieta Assembly — by pointing out to the gathered crowd that his aunt was on the committee that voted to purchase the land 52 years ago.

“I remember very clearly my daddy driving me out here,” Draper said. “He pointed out this area — there was nothing out here — and told me, ‘Son, this will be an important place for years to come.'”

Determined to make the retreat center a reality, the leadership of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico in the 1950s boldly put up their Baptist building as collateral for the land.

Since that time, it’s been about the ministry, Draper said. “Glorieta will continue to be about lives changed through their experience with God on this mountain retreat,” he said, addressing speculation that LifeWay would not be able to sustain operations at Glorieta.

“LifeWay will not sell Glorieta, because it’s not about money. It is about ministry,” Draper said. “We are committed to doing what it takes to ensure many more lives are changed by the experiences found in this unique and special place.”

At its fall 2005 meeting, LifeWay’s board of trustees approved spending $27 million during the next four years to update and enhance the facilities at LifeWay’s two conference centers — Glorieta and Ridgecrest, located near Asheville, N.C.

In addition to the funds earmarked by trustees, gifts from other sources allow even more work to be realized. In 2005, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention contributed a $250,000 gift to Glorieta to boost the revitalization efforts. The donation expedited the restoration of Cottonwood Lodge (formerly named Yucca), which was in need of major repairs.
Information regarding events hosted by Glorieta and Ridgecrest can be found on the Internet at www.lifeway.com/conferencecenters.

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