NEC Camp Meeting Weekend Highlights
5th July 2018
The North of England saw the highest temperatures on record for a long time, which as a result meant the North England Conference (NEC) Camp Meeting basked in beautiful sunshine at the seaside town of Southport, North West England. Held from Monday 25 June for one week, Pontins was the residential holiday park for the 1000 attendees who made their way across the northern region of England, including those from the South England Conference (SEC) and the Missions.
With the theme 'Nurturing Each Other and Winning Another' the adult meetings reinforced that message using the theme song 'Each one Reach one' each evening along with the powerful and biblically crafted sermons given by Pastor Steve Riley, Communication director of the South Caribbean Conference and senior pastor of the Mt D'or Seventh-day Adventist church. His messages were well-received by the attendees who were treated each night to sound expository and topical messages expressed dynamically through a personality tinged with natural wit and humour
With an array of guest speakers and various programmes, the attendees were not left without choice. For the early risers there were the morning reflections presented by NEC minister, Pastor Victor Marshall and his prayer team. Bible study followed after breakfast with Pastor Jongimpi Papu, guest presenter who currently serves at the Southern African-Indian Ocean Division heading both the Ministerial and Family Ministries departments. He focused his studies on spiritual commitment and personal revival.
With plenty of time in the programme for the opportunity to catch up with friends and making new ones, each day was an opportunity to digest the spiritual feast of teachings, with free time for meditation and contemplation as well as recreation.
Health messages were presented by Dr Katia Reinert, graduate from John Hopkins University, who has an interest in preventative medicine and mental health. She shared her experiences and gave life-changing advice and direction to the many who attended her presentations on the topics of addictions, healthy sexuality, emotional stability and mental equilibrium.
Behind the scenes of Camp Meeting there are usually many peripheral services and ministries taking place. Hope Radio provided live coverage of some of the events whilst using Pontins as a temporary station base to reach out locally and nationally, and,via internet, internationally. Pastor Michael Simpson and his team shared that various emails and responses were received from people around the world expressing their appreciation for the live coverage and inspiring music.
Teen services, held in a marquee near to the main auditorium, provided activities and programmes led by NEC Teens Ministries director Pastor Isaac Liburd and his team. Similarly, meetings for the young adults were provided through guest speaker Dean Cullinane, theology student at Weimar College. SEC Youth director Pastor Anthony Fuller also gave powerful messages at the youth services.
Pastor Lola Moore-Johnson, guest speaker from the Woodbridge Seventh-day Adventist church in Northern Virginia, where she serves as senior pastor, was the midday power hour speaker but also shared messages in word and in song in various programmes in youth and adult services. Claude Edwards, chaplain with the Orange County Corrections department was the main adult singing evangelist whose song choice each evening was appreciated by all. Claude also spoke at the teens' meetings where he instantly gained a rapport with his open and honest messages using examples drawn from his own experiences.
Friday evening at camp meeting usually draws further crowds from the weekend campers and this occasion was no different. An extra 500 people attended for the weekend, which began with communion with NEC President Pastor Richard Jackson giving the message. With the weather providing beautiful sunshine all week, Sabbath morning with clear blue skies set the tone for a day of warm fellowship and a spiritual feast of various programmes. Prior to the main service, a baptism was held in the campus swimming pool with one candidate, which was video relayed to the main auditorium. With presentations from ADRA-UK, British Union Conference (BUC) Communications and an awards ceremony from the BUC Health Ministries department, the attendees were given up-to-date reports within the Church.
Pastor Riley spoke for the main service on the intriguing topic, 'When bad becomes good'. Using the story of Jonah, he highlighted how God can turn around bad situations in our lives for the good and spiritual well-being of ourselves and others.
Both the teens and youth programmes saw large crowds of young people who were a credit to their parents by displaying good decorum and a positive attitude in their spiritual approach that was evident throughout the week.
The evening ended with musical concerts in each of the venues displaying an array of instrumental, choral and individual talent.
The entire week proved to be a festival of worship and inspiration. NEC President, Pastor Jacksonsaid, "Camp Meeting is about empowering our members to be inspired so that when they leave here (Camp Meeting) they will want to do more in their communities, and spend more time together in fellowship with families, friends and fellow believers."
[Richard Daly (Pictures - Lungani Sibanda)]