Pathfinders 'Come to the Table'
"Come to the table. Come join the sinners who have been redeemed. Take your place beside the Savior. Sit down and be set free. Come to the table" (lyrics by Sidewalk Prophets).
In May 2018, 688 Pathfinders and staff attending this year’s Upper Columbia Conference (UCC) Pathfinder Fair sang this theme song before each worship talk, putting special emphasis on the idea of inviting all to come and fellowship with Jesus.
For most, Pathfinder Fair means camping with clubs from across the conference, exploring craft displays, marching and drilling, walking in the Grand Parade, and listening to an amazing speaker. But this year, the fair was so much more. Not only were Pathfinders able to participate in all of the usual activities, they were also able to experience a day of outreach. During this time, Pathfinders forcused on others rather than themselves.
One major outreach project Pathfinders tackled was packing Adventist Community Services (ACS) buckets of cleaning supplies for families affected by the recent flooding in eastern Washington and Montana. In one afternoon, 225 buckets were prepared for distribution.
Other outreach projects included literature distribution, a door-to-door canned food drive, prayer knocking, community needs assessment, handing out Vacation Bible School invitations, packing candy for the Grand Parade, a kids' story and activity hour, sharing bottled water in a local park, and outreach focused honors.
Also new this year, was a revamped and streamlined schedule to not only ease the stress of club directors and staff, but to also open up a large window of opportunity for Pathfinders to have a more visible presence in the local community. One example of this was the Grand Parade. Normally, the Grand Parade takes place Sabbath morning, and simply provides an opportunity for Pathfinders to march around campus in front of judges and their family and friends.
This year, Richie Brower, UCC associate director of youth, young adult and family ministries, asked the Fairfield, Wash., town council to let the Grand Parade take place down Main Street. The council was inclined to grant his request based on the favorable work teen Pathfinders had accomplished in their community during Teen Pathfinder Mission Adventure the last two years.
Sabbath evening, after spending a full afternoon serving in surrounding communities, Pathfinders gathered in Fairfield's Thiele Park to prepare for the Grand Parade. The driver of a local fire truck, who led the parade, upon observing the orderliness in which events were conducted, commented, “You guys are really organized!”
With 32 clubs marching, each proudly flying a colorful banner telling who they were and where they were from, the Pathfinders provided a wonderful visual example of the invitation Jesus is offering to each of us to “Come to the Table.” The momentous parade culminated in Hart Park, where the community was invited to a vespers program, “Worship in the Park.”
The speaker for the entire weekend, Dick Duerksen, Oregon Conference assistant to the president for creative ministries, possesses the unique ability to keep his listeners spellbound as he shares stories of what God has done in his life and in the lives of those he’s come into contact with. With messages so simple and yet so profound, Duerksen shared the gospel message on a level even the youngest in attendance understood.
Sunday morning, during his final talk of the weekend, Duerksen challenged his listeners to surrender their lives to Christ’s keeping, quoting, “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him. … If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. … For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 2:13 and 3:1,3).