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Pilgrim Firs ends COVID center after 15 months

June 30 was the last day for Pilgrim Firs Camp and Conference Center in Port Orchard to host the Kitsap County COVID quarantine and isolation center after more than 15 months of partnership. The site housed and fed 183 guests who were able to enjoy the serenity of this sacred oasis, said Wade Zick, managing director.

Supplies for COVID quarantine/isolation center are packed to be moved out of Pilgrim Firs.                   Photo courtesy of Pilgrim Firs

“Our guests, who were exposed to and/or were COVID positive, ranged in age from a three-day-old baby to individuals in their 80’s,” he said.

Guests also included people from the homeless community, first responders, neighbors with vulnerable housemates, sobriety-house residents, newly released prisoners, migrants and multi-generational families.

Many of the guests enjoyed fishing beside, kayaking on and walks along Lake Flora.

“We helped bring healing about in different ways,” said Wade.  “It was a ministry that is now part of our story. We celebrate how we lived into our mission during the pandemic in brand new ways.

“This would not have been successful without a team and staff that committed themselves to this work,” he said. “There was not a day off since March 20, 2020, from either serving our community actively or awaiting the call that a guest would be arriving.

“This was necessary work, soul-fulfilling ministry and exhausting service,” he continued. “There is much gratitude for the hard work of the staff at Pilgrim Firs.”

In addition to Wade, staff making the ministry possible were Chris Berry, Michael Staser, Alex Siedlecki, Jean Scott, Melina Schue, Ruby Johnson, Kay Jackson, Ellie Jackson, Jay Jackson and Jon Scott.

“We are now in the process of deep cleaning and sanitization, getting camp back to its more typical layout and preparing for our summer groups and campers,” said Wade.  “We are also finishing up the thank you notes to the many individuals who were generous in their donations of financial support, toiletry items, clothing, games, books and supplies.

A final piece of this ministry will be hosting a thank you picnic and celebration for the county volunteers and guests in on Aug 1.

“This overall effort for the last 15 plus months was successful because a community came together to take care of their neighbors,” he said. “We are extremely grateful for that partnership and their dedication.

While he described serving as a COVID quarantine and isolation center as “a pretty weird journey,” he noted that “we made a difference together.”

For the summer, Wade expects about 50 percent usage compared with typical summers with stone sculptors and musicians groups coming, along with family weekends with people from churches.

There will be a Pride Luncheon fund raiser on Aug. 22.

For information, call 360-876-2031, email wade@pilgrimfirs-org  or visit



Pacific NW UCC News © July 2021




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