Our conference centre work began more than half a century ago out of the provision of a residential training base for mission work in Ireland. In 1965 Ogston Hall, a private stately home in Derbyshire was offered to Irish Evangelistic Treks (IET) on a short, rent-free lease. They needed a base for their work in Southern Ireland as well as a training centre for Trek Team members prior to their summer evangelistic programmes. It was here that the first of numerous conference centres was set up.
Cloverley Hall itself became the Headquarters of IET back in 1968 as the lease on Ogston Hall was coming to an end. Cloverley Hall in Shropshire had been a Christian Boys school forced to close and the School Governors wanted the Trust’s property to remain in Christian hands. At an Extraordinary Meeting of the Governors, the Committee Members of IET became the Trustees of Cloverley Hall Ltd and so acquired the freehold and access rights across the surrounding Estate.
In 1974, the charity were granted a lease on Castlewellan Castle, in the Mournes area in Northern Ireland. The Castle had been the stately home of the Annesley family and had transferred, along with the Forest Park, to Forest Services. They had no use for the recently bombed building, so the trustees, supported by local volunteers, took on the huge task of turning it into a residential centre. The first groups were welcomed in 1976, but the centre has enjoyed fairly continual improvement and development over the intervening years.
The Quinta, also in Shropshire, joined the fold in 1985. It had operated in various guises over the years, always under the Price Trust, which required the property to be used for evangelical Christian purposes. When the then trustees were no longer able to do that, Centre Ministries took over the operation of the Trust and established a multi-unit residential centre on the site.
The charity has been involved with a number of other centres over the years. The name was changed to Centre Ministries in 2007 to better reflect the more diverse nature of our work.