Loss of the eight-unit Whispering Oak Lodge is the latest setback for a conference center embroiled in a legal battle with the Missouri Baptist Convention.
By Vicki Brown
A fire apparently sparked by a mechanical failure in a dryer unit destroyed a 46-bed lodge before dawn July 22 at Windermere Baptist Conference Center in Roach, Mo.
The 7,200-foot Whispering Oak Lodge was one of 13 “deluxe” lodging units at the encampment located on the Lake of the Ozarks. The two-story, eight-unit facility was a total loss, and a nearby maintenance building with data and communication equipment inside also was damaged.
Loss of the building is the latest blow to Windermere as it remains embroiled in a legal battle with the Missouri Baptist Convention. The center was among five entities (including The Baptist Home, the Missouri Baptist Foundation, Missouri Baptist University and Word and Way) that changed their governing documents to elect their own trustees in 2000 and 2001.
In August 2002, the MBC filed legal action against the institutions in Cole County Circuit Court. The convention filed an additional lawsuit against Windermere in Camden County, where the conference center is located.
Windermere won the Cole County case and subsequent appeals, but the Camden County case continues.