The new private campground in Hondo, called ‘Midnight Sky’ is a busy place these days, as the new owners upgrade it to meet their needs. This includes an expansion of the water and wastewater facilities. On May 16, when The Leader visited, dirt was being moved around, probably to facilitate the installation of larger underground holding tanks.
There’s no sign of it yet, but the plan is to build a pole barn on the property, to house meetings. These will be get-togethers of people involved in, or interested in, the teachings and activities of philosopher and author John de Ruiter. He’s the founder of the College of Integrated Philosophy, based in Edmonton.
According to Zaba Walker, who manages the Midnight Sky project for the de Ruiter organization, the group’s former meeting place in Edmonton – the Oasis Centre – has been sold.
“It didn’t survive COVID,” she says.
Since the arrival of the pandemic, meetings have shifted online, and – since the purchase late last summer of the Mosquito Lake resort – at the rural property in Hondo.
“It was for sale,” says Walker. “And close enough to Edmonton to have easy access.”
A tent has been in use for meetings; the pole barn will replace it. Cabins are being set up as well, to accommodate visitors to the retreat.
Otherwise, Midnight Sky continues as a campground, but a private one. Walker says the vision is that the retreat might be available to rent for events – weddings and such – but for now, it’s for “anybody who is interested in John de Ruiter’s philosophy, or his presence.” Explaining the roots of that phenomenon is beyond the scope of this article. As we noted in an earlier one, anyone interested in learning more about Mr. de Ruiter can easily find it online.
The participants constitute – in Walker’s estimation – 300 to 400 people “who would easily come to an event,” and globally, 3,000 to 4,000 more. Some of these are Europeans, a few of whom have already visited the Hondo retreat. The Leader has heard from a Smith resident who has rented a room to a visitor from Denmark, for example.
Things that are new and unusual in a rural community are always the subject of much speculation. Walker says the new owners of the property are aware of this and keen to be good members of the community. Making connections – business and personal – are part of that, and she says it has been happening and has been positive so far.
“We love it here,” she says. “And we’d really like to foster good connections with the people that live here.”