CFEONLINE News from the Diocese of Central Florida
Diocesan Shelters Available for Irma EvacueesSeptember 9, 2017 • Jeff Gardenour  • DIOCESAN FAMILY • REACHING OUT

The Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida announced Thursday that several of its churches and retreats are opening up space for evacuees from Hurricane Irma, which is expected to strike Florida in the coming days.

Camp Wingmann, located at 3404 Wingmann Road in Avon Park, is offering limited space to those who wish to ride out the storm. Camp Wingmann is located in northern Highlands County, about 1 ½ hours south of downtown Orlando.

“We have two rooms with sheets and towels and a cottage that can sleep three to four, which has sheets and towels,” said Camp Wingmann director, the Rev. Deke Miller. “We also have the cabins and the lodge that do not have sheets and towels, but they do have bunk beds.”

Evacuees that come need to bring their own food, water, flashlights, and all necessary emergency items, as well as battery-operated fans in case the retreat loses electricity, Miller said.

“We are not a registered or certified shelter and cannot guarantee that we will not have damage from falling trees or power failure,” Miller said. “We also cannot guarantee your safety, so please bring all necessary paperwork. The buildings are on pretty high ground, so flooding should not be an issue, but again, we cannot guarantee that.”

Call Camp Wingmann at 863-453-4800 for more information.

Also, Church of Our Saviour, located at 200 Northwest 3rd St. in Okeechobee, is an official Red Cross shelter. The church is located about 45 minutes south of Sebring. For more information, call 863-763-4843.

The Canterbury Retreat & Conference Center, located at 1601 Alafaya Trail in Oviedo, announced that it is offering 25 rooms for individuals and families who choose to evacuate from the coast because of Hurricane Irma.

As of late Thursday afternoon, only a few rooms have been reserved, according to Canterbury staff member Kim McCloskey.

Canterbury director, the Rev. Dr. Jon Davis, said the normal Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida room rate is $56, but that the retreat is gladly suspending that during this emergency. Rooms have bedding and towels, but guests need to bring their own emergency supplies such as water, food, flashlights, batteries, etc.

“Canterbury could still “go down” with no power or have some damages due to wind,” Davis said. “Last year, you may recall a tree came down and into the Winchester meeting room during Hurricane Matthew. We will not have the threat of storm surge the coast will have and there is little chance of flooding. I know we are all praying and making preparations as Irma approaches.”

To make reservations, call Canterbury Guest Services at 407-365-5571 by 5 p.m., Friday.

Also, individuals can contact Episcopal Relief & Development diocesan coordinator John Motis for information on other shelter opportunities in the Greater Orlando area. He can be reached at or 863-528-4338.


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