I grew up coming to Bonclarken. Only to me, it was just "The Mountain House." My family has a small cottage on the property, and we spent many a summer enjoying this place. It has always felt like a safe haven for me. Maybe it had to do with the fact that we never locked the doors when we visited (not even to sleep or when we went out for the day). Or the fact that I was allowed to spend all day out on the grounds by myself exploring. My siblings, and cousins, and I, would spend hours swimming at the lake, then more hours exploring the creepy hotel (where Salem Pres now stays for the retreat), and then end the day on the rocking porch with my sweet Grandparents telling us stories.
So it was only natural that I would think of this safe and heavenly place when our service starting dreaming about a retreat a few years back. Only then did I look into the meaning of the name "Bonclarken." Apparantely a Mrs. Sallie Miller Brice of Chester SC came up with it. "Bon" from the Latin "Bonus" or "Good." "Clar" from the Latin "Clarus"or "Clear." "Ken" from the Scotch meaning, "Vision." I hope that the weekends we spend here as a Church over the years will provide us a Good Clear Vision for God's Grace in our lives, and for the gift of a community of believers.
Click here to read a brief history of how Bonclarken came to be, and some of Katie's Great Grandfather's journals about the start of their cottage here.