From the very beginning, the Duncan Conference Center has grown and flourished thanks to the support of every bishop, donor, director, and helping hand along the way. It all started on January 15, 1984, when St. Paul’s Episcopal Church donated five acres of land along South Military Trail.
Just months later, in May, Norman K. Ross, who was previously at the Claggett Center in Maryland, was selected to be the first director. Ross soon traveled down to the sunny state of Florida to help begin the Duncan Conference Center’s long and fulfilling journey.
Less than a year later, it was time to open. In April 1985, the Duncan Conference Center officially served as a tranquil and relaxing place for meetings and conferences for professionals who need to get away from life’s daily routine.
Many things have changed since we first opened our doors all those years ago. We’ve grown tremendously - not only is our property much larger, but we have also increased the number of guests we can accommodate. However, the one thing that has stayed the same is our drive to make the Duncan Conference Center the best it can be.
The first major addition to our property came less than five years from our opening date. The St. Gregory’s Lodging Building joined the original St. Paul’s Lodging Building in 1989, allowing us to bring many more people to our spacious and peaceful location.
In 2003, we unveiled and dedicated our first labyrinth – an outdoor piece modeled after the famous labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral in France. It would only be two years until we added our second labyrinth. This one would be located inside our brand-new chapel, which was dedicated in June 2005.
During this momentous occasion, four bishops –Bishop Leo Frade, Assistant Bishop James Ottley, retired Bishop Calvin O.Schofield, Jr., and retired Bishop John Said – all came together to lead over250 people into the Schofield Chapel for the first time.
In 2018, the Duncan Conference Center took a big step forward, beginning an incredible partnership with Joshua Catering, a branch of The Lord’s Place. Through Café Joshua, their goal is to break the cycle of homelessness through education, teaching people cooking and serving skills for future employment.
With each addition to the Duncan Conference Center, whether it be a new face or a new building, we continue to grow. We can never know what the future holds, but we hope to continue serving guests at our oasis of peace for years to come.