“United We Stand” Reflections on a Successful Ontario Camp Meeting
Posted: June 30th, 2023
On June 23 to the 24th, in the heart of Simcoe, Ontario, at the Norfolk County Fairgrounds, an eagerly awaited event unfolded—the Southern Ontario Camp Meeting. After three long years since the lifting of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, members of the Southern Ontario region, which consists of 26 congregations and over 4000 members, came together under the theme "United We Stand." This gathering was a celebration of unity, fellowship, and spiritual growth. Greetings and comments from Pastor Jakov Bibulovic, president of the Ontario Conference, and the presence of esteemed guests, such as the President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada, added to the significance of the event.
Worship and Sermons:
From the outset, the atmosphere was filled with anticipation and joy. The worship experience was vibrant, with heartfelt singing and melodious hymns being played on the mandolin and the bells by the "Victorian Lady."
During the Friday night message titled "United in Prayer," participants were encouraged to join together in seeking God's guidance and blessings.
For morning worship, Pastor Mansfield Edwards, Vice President of Evangelism & Outreach, delivered a stirring message titled "United in Commitment." He focused on the books of Haggai and Zechariah, and used the theme of “rebuilding the temple”. Dr. Edwards emphasized the importance of recommitting ourselves to rebuilding areas of our spiritual lives that may have been neglected. He urged everyone to prioritize family worship and selfless service in our communities in the name of Jesus. He passionately preached showing from the Bible that God's work must come first before personal or professional pursuits. His powerful words resonated deeply with the attendees. Sister Rita, a first-time participant, mentioned how she thoroughly enjoyed camp meeting and stated that “the Holy Spirit worked powerfully through Dr. Edwards.”
Youth and Children's Programs:
The youth section of the camp meeting was equally Spirit-filled and engaging. The theme, "Love Thy Neighbor," inspired a strong turnout of teens and young adults, surpassing previous years. They actively participated in interactive worship sessions, which included small group prayers and soul-stirring singing led by both the praise team and the Bronte Youth Choir. Pastor Daniel Innocent delivered a powerful message that touched the hearts of the youth, resulting in many responding to his altar call.
The youth were not only encouraged to commit their lives to Jesus but to follow Him in showing compassion and care to the community. Young people prepared care packages to be given to a community centre supporting the homeless. Each package included a personal message of encouragement and inspiration from each youth. The activity was successful at fostering a sense of compassion and service.
In a delightful twist, the children's program demonstrated innovative interaction. Embracing the idea of "the children shall lead them," the young ones took on the role of teachers, imparting Bible lessons to the adult instructors. This creative approach not only captivated the children but also gave them a unique learning experience.
The Southern Ontario Camp Meeting was a resounding success. The enthusiastic turnout, uplifting messages, and joyous atmosphere left a lasting impression on all who attended. Participants expressed their anticipation for the next camp meeting in 2024, eagerly looking forward to further spiritual growth, fellowship, and re-committing their lives to Jesus.