African-American members throughout the Northwest are unequivocal about the annual North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) Regional Convocation. “Pastor, I don’t know what we’d do without it!” some exclaim. And many echo a common phrase: “We look forward to this special gathering all year long.”
This year’s event, held May 14–17 at Camp Berachah in Auburn, Washington, brought nearly 1,000 members together for powerful worship, stirring music, good food, training and fellowship. Organized by the NPUC regional affairs department under the direction of Alphonso McCarthy, this gathering has truly become an annual multicultural camp meeting of sorts.
Those who came from differing corners of the Northwest, including some from British Columbia, enjoyed worship and workshops on Friday. Following Sabbath services, an afternoon presentation, “Our History, Our Mission, Our Future,” covered regional work in the Northwest.
The Saturday evening concert featured soulful music and an answer to prayer. One member of the highlighted Ken Burton Trio was attempting to fly in from London, England, but faced months of roadblocks to obtaining a temporary travel visa. On the Friday of the convocation, he was finally issued the visa — and instead of the expected three-month version, his visa was for 10 years. He made it in time.
Those who came this year, and some who couldn’t, are already putting next year’s event in their calendars for May 12–15, 2016.