Kiah Ridge Christian Conference Centre is our Baptist Association camp and conference facility. It exists to support the local church in the experience of getting away together – to spend time in community, be refreshed in their faith, and have opportunities for conversation to go deeper. This year marks the 30th year that Kiah Ridge, located in Tahmoor NSW, has been a ministry activity of the Association – and it has been a very unique year indeed!  

Spared from fire, spared from flood! 

During the 2019/2020 bushfire season, a major bushfire known as the ‘Green Wattle Creek Fire’ impacted large areas of the Wollondilly Shire, and directly affected Kiah Ridge. As the threat from fire increased, Kiah Ridge pro-actively closed to guests, with families in residence leaving before any fire approached directly. Staff liaised with upcoming bookings to locate their camp elsewhere, and are grateful for the other venues that were in touch to advise of options available. Though power and water supply was disrupted to the site, and there were fallen trees and a scorched entrance road, the site buildings were thankfully spared. The site also survived the local flooding in February. Now, staff are praying for the favourable resolution of outstanding insurance claims from both the bushfires and flooding. Please join them in prayer. 

The boundary fence, stopped by a fire break that a neighbour worked on, leaving much of the site untouched!
About 500 new plants that survived drought, hungry animals, and fire, that were finally watered by the sky!

Keeping busy during Covid-19  

With Covid-19 restrictions becoming tighter from mid-march, like all venues, activities ceased overnight for Kiah Ridge – they didn’t transfer to online platforms, or have the inconvenience (or joy) of working from home for a while. Site Director, Kevern Bawden, says, “As the Covid-19 situation began to gain momentum in February and March this year, it became obvious that a significant impact to venues like Kiah Ridge was unavoidable. Whilst as a team we were not surprised that welcoming groups had to pause indefinitely, it was a challenging reality to face. Initially as a team we grieved together. It was a challenge to share with our team the bleak outlook for our upcoming bookings calendar and the impact that this would have on available work. 

But, they had a positive attitude! As we sat outside one morning, amongst the unusual quiet, we agreed that since the fires a few months’ prior, the bird activity had increased dramatically,” Kevern shares. We had already been through a hard few months. It was an opportune time for us to remember that God spared the venue from fire and floods for a purpose, and that He values us. 

It’s at this point that Kevern shared a bible verse from Matthew, chapter 6:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:25-26) 

The team wisely decided to see this period as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on their venue. “We wanted to make sure that we took this opportunity and made some positive steps to enhance as much of the guest experience as possible, so that when guests were able to return there would be something more for them to experience, Kevern explains. The ‘iso-projects included landscaping, hosting ‘working-from-home’ Baptist Association staff who needed a short change of scenery, continuing to work on a masterplan, concept sketches and DA lodgement for improvements later this year, deep cleaning, re-writing documents, re-configuring systems, and more. Kevern says, Our team is deserving of so much praise for their adaptability and drive to make use of time and resources to undertake so many different tasksTo do all of this without grumbling has been amazing.

Check out some ‘iso-project’ pics:

Moving forward 

As social-distancing restrictions ease, people will need times of gathering and connection now more than ever before. We are in a tough season, and this is a space where you and your leadership can get out the house, refresh, reimagine church post-Covid and reconnect with your community. Kevern says, “Going away together is an opportunity to build new relationships, strengthen existing friendships and networks, and overall create stronger and healthier communities…We encourage you to join us in choosing to move forward, and come away together at Kiah Ridge!” 

Do not give up meeting together [going on camp], as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another— and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
(Hebrews 10:25)


 For a taste of what it’s like to do church camp at Kiah Ridge, check out this story

For more info, questions or bookings: OR 4683 1111.


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