The Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina announces that it is with sadness and regret that the Board of Managers of Trinity Center, the camp and conference center owned and operated by the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina, has accepted the notice of intent to retire from long-term Executive Director, Penn Perry.
Penn has been a part of Trinity Center in one way or another for thirty-two years, serving first as a seasonal employee of Camp Trinity and nineteen years as a fulltime employee, the last fourteen as executive director. Penn and his wife met at Trinity Center, and their sons have quite literally grown up there. He is much beloved by staff and campers alike and will be sorely missed. His plans are to spend time with his family and continue to improve his health.
Trinity Center is comprised of sixty-two acres located near Salter Path, part of the outer banks of eastern North Carolina. Its two biggest programs, Camp Trinity a summer camp where hundreds of children grew up going, and Sound to Sea, the only residential environmental education program on the Outer Banks which in normal times is operated during the school year for school groups. The Conference Center has 44 hotel-style guest rooms and a number of other lodging options, and welcomes a wide variety of programs each year, providing meeting space, meals, and the opportunity to relax and enjoy the seaside.
COVID-19 has disrupted so many lives, businesses, and activities this year. Trinity Center, along with virtually all similar summer camps and conference centers, has also felt the sting of the nation-wide “lock-down.” In May, the Board of Managers made the decision to close for the summer and staffing was reduced. The remaining employees, under Penn Perry’s experienced guidance have done all they could to keep the campus in good repair and to plan for a time when it can reopen. Unfortunately, that time has not yet come and may be a number of months away.
With that in mind, Penn stated in his letter, “I do believe that it is time for a change, for me and for Trinity Center. I assure all of you that I deeply hope that Trinity Center will continue forward and eventually reopen and serve many more children and adults.” The Board of Managers, chaired by Ed Hodges, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina, and their Bishop, the Rt. Rev Robert S. Skirving, are confident that Penn Perry’s legacy will ensure that his hopes will come to fruition.
“Penn’s legacy will certainly be cherished and preserved in the years to come,” writes Bishop Skirving. “I believe that countless others across East Carolina and beyond would join me in thanking Penn for his faithful service to the Diocese, and for his loving care of Trinity Center and its many ministries. We will look forward to the time, post-COVID-19, when we can gather with Penn to honor his contributions to our common life and express our gratitude to him for his many years of leading Trinity Center.” The Board of Managers has begun the work of identifying interim leadership for Trinity Center.
The Executive Council of the Diocese is committed to working with the Board of Managers of Trinity Center toward the day when Trinity Center can once again welcome children, teens and adults to its property and its ministries. The Executive Council has been providing financial support to Trinity Center from Diocesan resources since June and will continue to do so going forward. On the recommendation of a consultant, the Executive Council is also pursuing the possible sale of a small corner of undeveloped land on the Trinity Center property, in order to build an endowment to fund Trinity Center’s ministry into the future.