Thursday, December 22, 2011

Frade blesses “Oasis” at the Duncan Conference Center

It was the first day of winter. The sky was a clear, bright blue, and the temperature hovered around 80 as Bishop Leo Frade, wearing swim trunks, a t-shirt--and his miter--stepped into the new swimming pool at the Duncan Conference Center in Delray Beach.

Standing on the pool steps, the bishop offered a prayer, then walked around the perimeter and through the water at the shallow end, sprinkling the pool’s blue surface with holy water.

“Be present with your servants in this place, to which they come for fellowship and recreation,” he prayed. “Make it, we pray, a place of serenity and peace.”
The pool and surrounding gardens, named the Frade Oasis in honor of the bishop, are the first part of an upgrade of the diocesan conference center’s facilities that will also include expansion of the kitchen and dining room of the Bethesda Refectory, the addition of a sunroom for use as an indoor gathering place, and a gazebo near the pool.

When planning for the “oasis” began, the bishop had said, half-joking, that he wanted it called the T.G.I.F. pool—“Thank God It’s Frade.” As he waded into the pool, Duncan Center Director Alison Walsh asked him to move his feet so she could uncover a surprise: Set into the top step is a mosaic plaque that says, “TGIF.”

Walsh presented similar tile plaques to Frade and to Duncan Center Board members Karen and David Gury, whose donation made possible the construction of the pool.

“We’re committed to the transformation of this place,” said Karen Gury after the pool blessing, “because it is transforming lives.”

After the brief blessing service, Frade enjoyed a swim, along with David Gury and members of his family, and Fr. Andrew Sherman, rector of St. Gregory’s, Boca Raton. St. Gregory’s and its parishioners, including the Gurys, are faithful supporters of the Duncan Center.

The Dec. 21 pool blessing was a small event, attended mainly by board members. A full dedication celebration for the whole diocese is planned for March 2012.

Click here for a photo gallery from the pool blessing.