Footsteps of Faith Northwest Convocation Celebrates 30th Anniversary

More than 2,000 people gathered May 11–14 at Camp Berachah in Auburn, Wash., to celebrate the 30th annual North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) Regional Convocation. The theme was “Time: Growing Closer, Faith: Getting Stronger.”

The idea started as a women’s retreat and grew into a 30-year tradition of families meeting for faith, fellowship and fun. This annual convocation has changed a lot since then. For a time, families gathered at the Gladstone, Ore., camp meeting grounds before outgrowing the facilities and finding new venues in Hope, British Columbia, and now in Auburn, Wash.

“We have people from all over the U.S. coming now to our convocation,” said Alphonso McCarthy, NPUC assistant to the president for regional affairs.

The weekend celebrations included a number of well-known inspirational preachers, soul-lifting music, and history lessons on how the Black work in the Northwest began to take shape in 1945.

Programming for children and youth was also included. The speaker for the youth was Oliver Archer, Pioneer Memorial Church youth pastor. When he made a call for baptism, 12 young people came forward.

Since 1977, the convocations have consistently advanced and guided the ethnic work in the Northwest. Today, the NPUC is home to 10 Black churches, one company, and two groups with one group being an Ethiopian fellowship.

Ed White was the first NPUC regional department director. He was followed by Wayne Shepherd, Roscoe Howard and the current director, Alphonso McCarthy.

“I like every minute of [convocation],” said Lula A. Martin, a member of the Emerald City Church in Seattle, who has attended the convocation for 30 years. “I like the spiritual part, the food, the fellowship. It just lifts you up and makes you want to do more with life.”

August 01, 2006 / North Pacific Union
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Heidi Martella, Washington Conference communication intern; photos by Todd Gessele, NPUC associate communication director