UCC 'Search and Rescue' Camp Meeting Reaches Thousands

July 15, 2020 | Church | Kathy Marson

This year’s camp meeting was unusual but powerful. “Search and Rescue,” held virtually at the Spokane Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church in eastern Washington, was attended by thousands every night. The YouTube views of the Sabbath program surpassed 7,000 and will increase as attendees share camp meeting with their friends.

Lee Venden shared his new series about the Garden of Gethsemane. The most powerful message was that Jesus conquered the devil in the garden and He saved mankind for eternity on the cross. Meeting Jesus is the single most important event of every person’s life. Because of this members have been invited to share this series far and wide. Many viewers found hope in Venden's poetical expression, "Jesus is music to a concert, He is air to a deep breath, He is life to the living, He is strength in weakness, and He is your friend."

Buddy Houghtaling and his group also ministered each evening through music. His backup singers were Natalie Patzer and Donna Hook. Paul Jenks played base, and Eugene Hook was on the guitar. Together they shared the love of Jesus through song. Their talents were phenomenal as they performed many songs by request at the afterglow each evening.

Speaking of the afterglow, Minner Labrador, Upper Columbia Conference president, virtually gathered the attendees around the piano like a typical afterglow to ask questions and make song requests. The audience felt like they were there because of YouTube and Facebook chat. Venden was able to answer questions, and Houghtaling and team fulfilled musical requests such as “Kitty Kitty,” “When Pigs Fly,” “Mr. Darwin” and many more.

Every night a story was shared from a different church in Upper Columbia Conference. The messages focused on how the church was continuing to do the work, even during the time of COVID. To cap off this message, Garrick Odenberg was baptized on Sabbath.

The seminars were well-received and well-attended. The technical crew did an outstanding job. The Valley Adventist Church staff hosted this year’s camp meeting with grace. All in all, the staff and crew felt this year was a success.

Next year's camp meeting is scheduled to resume at Upper Columbia Academy. Joe Kidder, Lowell Cooper, and Carl Cosaert will speak. While 2020 was a unique year, it provided a respite from the busyness of the normal camp meeting while focusing on the spiritual messages and retaining a virtual feeling of togetherness.

This year can be summed up in the words of some of the YouTube chat messages. Myrna Gillespie says, “Thank you Upper Columbia Conference for doing this virtual camp meeting, and thank you for asking Lee Venden to be a speaker. I have been blessed.”

Jim Davidson says, “This camp meeting has been a blessing! Thanks to all who made it possible! Most of all, thanks to Jesus for His infinite sacrifice!”

As these messages are shared far and wide, the timeliness and importance will be felt by others. You can watch them on YouTube.

Another option is to watch all seminars and main meetings at UCC website, www.uccsda.org/campmeeting.

Upper Columbia Conference encompasses the Seventh-day Adventist churches in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and northeastern Oregon and includes more than 27,000 members and 126 churches.