The Best of the Best The 34th Annual Regional Convocation
Record crowds of more than 2,000 from throughout the Northwest and Canada defied a sluggish economy to attend the 34th Annual North Pacific Union Conference Regional Convocation held May 13–16 at Camp Berachah in Auburn, Wash. Those who came represented a majority of African-American believers, but members from many different cultures were in strong evidence throughout each meeting.
With a theme of "Giving Hope to a World in Need," the gathering focused on a strong Bible work program and lay evangelism training. The spiritual tone for the weekend was set by Washington Johnson II, Message magazine editor. Keynote speaker Jesse Wilson, Oakwood University associate professor of religion, galvanized the audience, not only in his main presentations Friday evening and Sabbath morning, but also in evangelism workshops. Colin Dunbar, Upper Columbia Conference pastor, also provided extensive Bible worker training. Another seminar leader, Cheryl Shaw, Emerald City (Seattle, Wash.) Church member, serves as executive director of the Puget Sound Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Breast Cancer Foundation. She was gratified to see many attend her seminar on health and healing.
Aside from the energetic programs for children and youth, one area of special growth this year was in the young adult attendance. Delroy and Dilys Brooks, who led both the youth and young adult groups, saw nearly 150 crowd into the young adults meeting hall, which had been transformed into a comfortable café-style room with couches and other props. This reflects continued growth in this age range during the past three years.
Music with the award-winning Alan Woodson and his Mount Rubidoux Praise Team from Southern California and singer Kali Wilder kept the audience on the edge of their seats or standing tall.
Convocation organizers Alphonso McCarthy, NPUC vice president for regional affairs; Pattric Parris, McCarthy's administrative assistant; and Bryon Dulan, Washington Conference personal ministries director, gave special recognition this year to the late Alex Fuka, George and Marcia Hocker, and Rayford and Margie Woods, for their inspirational leadership.
McCarthy says the annual convocation continues to be a valuable and growing "spiritual resource full of inspiration, training and fellowship." He adds, "This year people kept saying ‘this was the best of the best!'"