Camp Meeting 2005
Traditionally, camp meeting season is “the” time for Adventist family and friends to reunite in one location for fellowship and spiritual renewal. This year was no exception.
In the Oregon Conference, camp meeting season begins with Southern Oregon Camp Meeting at Milo Academy in June. It continues in July with Hispanic Convocation and Gladstone Camp Meeting, both held at Gladstone Park Conference Center. And the season concludes in October with Central Oregon Convocation at Three Sisters School. The following provides a brief sketch of each of the first three events with a central Oregon report to follow in a forthcoming issue.
Attending Southern Oregon Camp Meeting, held each year on the campus of Milo Academy, is a yearly tradition for many. People come expecting the great fellowship, the inspiring music and messages, and the fantastic children’s programming. And again this year, people were not disappointed.
Programs and classes for all ages were available. The children’s ministries team dressed for safari, led children of all ages through Serengeti Trek, “where kids are wild about Jesus.” The program featured activity times, singing, Bible stories, and crafts. Smiles on little faces were also abundant. And this year teens enjoyed a special youth festival at Camp Umpqua.
As the featured speaker for the main meetings in the gymnasium, Karl Haffner, Walla Walla College Church senior pastor, shared what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist, which includes a special mission or sense of calling. And while weaving scripture and humorous personal anecdotes seamlessly, he reminded listeners of the privileges and responsibilities of our faith and that Jesus is coming soon. “Jesus has called the Adventist community,” Haffner said, “to proclaim the last-day message before Jesus comes again.”
As Sabbath ended, camp meeting attendees reluctantly left Milo’s gymnasium. “[This] has blessed me more and more and more,” said Coral Donavan from Myrtle Creek Church, “until I wish it hadn’t ended. When it’s over and you wish it wasn’t, you know it was good.”
Hundreds of families came together for the annual Oregon Conference Hispanic Convocation at Gladstone Park Conference Center. Each year, more and more people come to enjoy the music, dramatic presentations, and special messages. “I have a dream,” says Don Livesay, Oregon Conference president, “that there will soon be as many here [as at Gladstone Camp Meeting]. It shouldn’t take too long.”
Bernardo Rodriguez, youth director for the Inter-American Division, presented the impassioned messages. He reminded the congregation that the Lord is preparing His people. “He invites us to be complete in Him and to reflect His character. Even though we sing different national anthems, today we are complete in Him and part of the family of God.”
By the last meeting, Rodriguez asked families and individuals to come to Jesus and to be baptized. “Say, ‘I will not leave this camp meeting until I am sealed with baptism!'" Four people were baptized and 15 others came forward to indicate their desire to begin baptismal preparations. After the concluding prayer, audience members turned to those next to them and said, “Through the grace of God, I hope to see you in the heavenly camp meeting in the New Jerusalem.”
Annually, Gladstone Camp Meeting draws more than 10,000 people to the campus of Gladstone Park Conference Center. Some, like Lester Kenline from South Salem Church, have been coming for years. For others this is the first year. And for yet others, like Wayne and Shannon Garnick from University Park Church, this is the first time in a long time.
Kenline began attending Gladstone Camp Meeting as a student at Laurelwood Academy in 1946. He said, “I don’t think I missed very many [since then].” He has seen many changes over the years. He remembers the main meetings used to take place in an old wooden structure with shingles and a balcony that kids especially liked. There were dirt roads and wooden frames for tents with optional electricity. They’d bring a chest of drawers, bed frame, springs, mattress. “It was much more comfortable than now,” Kenline says. But this year he believes the people are friendlier than ever.
Wayne and Shannon Garnick attended Gladstone Camp Meeting in 1975 when they were first baptized, but the years passed quickly and their commitment to church faded. However, God continued to call them back, and they were re-baptized Jan. 17, 2004. And this year they are at camp meeting. “It took almost 30 years for us to get back,” Shannon said, “but even if we move out of state, we’ll be here next year!”