NSW Conference – Strangers & Pilgrims
5-8 June 2015
Our recent NSW Spiritual Conference, Friday 5th – Monday 8th June 2015 at Elim Heights, as always, proved to be a blessing to all, both young and ‘young at heart’ alike as we explored the theme ‘Strangers and Pilgrims.’
It was a time of physical and spiritual refreshment, especially for our young people. It was also a good opportunity for brethren from far and near to meet up. We were all able to come apart from the daily cares of life to enjoy the peaceful tranquillity of Elim Heights.
With all the hard work a lot of our brethren, particularly Sr. Elaine Weymark and our caretaker Br. Robin Gordon (as I am sure you would agree), have put into enhancing the infrastructure of the grounds, our stay at Elim Heights was very pleasant. It was indeed a delight.
One of the enjoyable aspects of the camp was the number of children that were present. It’s always good to see the youth and children enjoying their stay and bringing with them that atmosphere of youthful buoyancy which only they can. Thank the Lord for our young people!
Opening of Sabbath commenced with Br. Craig Cunningham presenting the evening worship “Feeling Our Need” for Christ and purity as we live as strangers and pilgrims in this world, which will be destroyed at Christ’s soon return.
This was followed by the evening meal and then the opening of Sabbath where Br. Alasdair Pow shared with us practical insights on “Why Be a Stranger/Pilgrim?” The message strongly emphasised not making this world our final home.
Sabbath morning found us sitting at the feet of Jesus as Br. Amos Thiel led us through the morning worship, “The Straight and Narrow Way”. The main thought was that the broad way is actually ‘narrow’ because it excludes all happiness, eternal life, joy and salvation and the narrow way is only narrow in terms of what is in this world. It actually leads to the ‘banqueting house’ where ‘His banner over us is love’, which is not available in the broad way.
Breakfast followed, then the Sabbath School, which was divided into three classes. The Divine Service was taken by Br. Paul Chapman, our AUC President, who shared from the Word of God. “Following the Steps of the Master.” As Christ lived as a stranger and pilgrim in His life on this earth, so we too are to live as strangers and pilgrims. We are to remember that, this world is not our final home. We are to live and love as Christ lived and loved – by a life of self-sacrifice and blessing to others.
As lunchtime arrived, we had the choice to either eat inside the dining hall or outside; and even though we were braving the not so cold weather, which was rather unusual this time of year, the sun was shining. The company of loved ones kept us warm.
The Young People’s Meeting saw Br. Larry Ah-Ching lead out with his assistants, Br. Sam Wiseman and Br. David Damaguit as they shared with the congregation “Youthful Enthusiasm”, which was based on the Scripture verse, 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” This verse was presented in segments, with Sam explaining the deportment of Christians in word and conversation; David, charity and speech; and Larry, faith and purity.
After an extensive round of spiritual presentations, Br. David Damaguit closed the Sabbath with a short talk on “Avoiding Worldly Danger.”
Our evening meal followed, and the night was closed with a bonfire that provided warmth and the opportunity to socialise. The bonfire was enjoyed by everyone.
Sunday morning saw us rising to morning worship with Br. Sam Wiseman presenting “Yoking up with Christ”. God has made provision for us to be yoked up with Him, and all we have to do is act our part by trusting God to fulfil His promises. Our faith is proved by our actions. Sam gave an illustration from the Old Testament in the taking of Jericho. The children of Israel were yoked up with Christ. They trusted God and showed they were yoked up by what they did.
We then partook of a satisfying breakfast in good company and at 10:00am were able to listen expectantly to Br. Peter Lausevic’s timely presentation “The Good Fight of Faith.” Br. Peter exhorted us regarding the necessity of vigilance in our Christian life, emphasizing that we are missionaries. We are witnesses for Christ first and foremost no matter what our profession may be.
Our next study was at 11:30am with Br. Domenic Polistina presenting “The Final Crossing.” Domenic took us through the experience of the children of Israel as by faith they finally took possession of their inheritance. The reason they didn’t possess the land initially was because they were not born again. So it is the same with us today. By faith we can enter the Promised Land that awaits us, an heavenly country, that holy city, the new Jerusalem.
Lunch was next on the menu followed by Youth Activities, which were much looked forward to by the youth. After interviewing one of the participants, they said concerning the activity, “it was one of the best….full of teamwork.”
The activity consisted of ten stages, and each stage was different. It was like a treasure hunt. At each stage was an activity, and on successful completion of that activity a clue was given to send everyone onto the next stage. There were three groups: two of young people and one group of children led by Br. Harold Kraus. As the activity was held outdoors, it was good to see the young people eagerly running to their next stage!
As all good things come to an end, in this world at least, our Conference for 2015 finally came to a close with Br. Paul Chapman giving the Benediction. The evening meal followed, and then our evening worship “What to do with Doubt” by Br. Joe Voncina. Joe made the important point that an effective way to overcome our doubts is to face them and consequently deal with them.
For Monday morning worship Sr. Linda Goudie presented to us a study on our heavenly home, our “Home Sweet Home”. A fitting conclusion to our camp.
With these things in mind we made our way to breakfast; we then cleaned up, packed up and departed to resume our Christian lifestyles in this world with renewed vigour.
Thus ended another much needed and blessed Spiritual Conference.
Bearing these things in mind, let us remember these words of Scripture, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25.
Reported by Br Craig Cunningham