SYRACUSE, Ind. - Members of the Oakwood Foundation for Adult Ministries board announced Wednesday, March 19 they returned the property, formerly known as Oakwood Park, to the North Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church. The foundation said it was no longer able to operate the Oakwood Christian Retreat & Conference Center in Syracuse as an adult Christian ministry.

Oakwood, on the northwest shore of Lake Wawasee in northern Indiana, includes the 77-room Oakwood Inn and restaurant, program center, academy center, a chapel and 42 acres dominated by tall oak trees.

The North Indiana Conference Board of Trustees officially received the property on March 19 in accordance with Oakwood Foundation by-laws and the action of the 1993 North Indiana Conference session of the church, when the Oakwood Foundation took possession of the property.

In court documents, the Oakwood Foundation said it would complete its commitments to existing customers by continuing operations of the ministry through Labor Day of this year with financial assistance from the North Indiana Conference. The foundation will cease activities at Oakwood on Sept. 1. Individuals and groups who wish to visit and use the facilities need to make arrangements with Oakwood to do so before Labor Day.

The Trustees of the North Indiana Conference voted to receive the property, with the approval of Indiana Area Bishop Mike Coyner and Conference's district superintendents acting between annual conference sessions as prescribed by church law. The Trustees also voted to sell the entire property. After the property is sold and all debts are paid, the Board of Trustees will bring a proposal for its approval to the North Indiana Conference about the use of any net proceeds.

Oakwood Park was founded in 1893 by the Evangelical Church, a predecessor denomination of The United Methodist Church.