August 15, 2019
Century Camp Meeting
The Apostolic Faith camp meeting in Century, Florida, was held July 21-28. The opening service included the installation of Josephine McElveen as the new District Superintendent of Southern and Eastern United States Work, which resulted in a large turnout. The choir opened the service with “Come, Let Us Worship the Lord,” with Norris Bush reading from Isaiah 6:1-3. Eugene Segres Jr., the former District Superintendent, welcomed everyone, and after the congregational singing, the choir sang “Praise Him.” Helen Gaddis, the group leader in Carrollton, Georgia, and Bernice Pinney, the pastor in Houston (Reed Road), Texas, read passages from the Old and New Testaments respectively. Then Lateaf Bush played “He Touched Me” on the saxophone. Edward Dixon, the pastor in Columbus, Georgia, presented Brother Eugene and his wife, Gertie, with plaques for their many years of faithful service, and Brother Eugene thanked everyone for their love and support. Then Elizabeth Adebayo played “As the Deer” on the violin while Paulette Wyatt read Sister Josephine’s testimony. She was saved in Los Angeles, California, while her husband was in the military, and after returning to Washington, D.C., she began attending the Apostolic Faith Church with her mother-in-law. As a young wife and mother, she was very sick, but she prayed and God healed her. The doctors warned her that the disease was only in remission, and she should expect to be hospitalized at least once a year for the rest of her life. That was in 1996, and she has been healed ever since. Her husband was in and out of the home due to illnesses for over twenty years, but in 2006, God wonderfully saved him, and he spent the last twelve years of his life as her spiritual helpmate until the Lord called him home in June 2018. Sister Josephine was appointed the pastor in Washington, D.C., in 2002, where she will continue to pastor while fulfilling her duties as district superintendent.
Bob Downey, Director of North America Work, preached the installation sermon, using Titus 1:1-9 for his text. He brought out that God chose Sister Josephine to be the new district superintendent because she has been faithful in her service to Him. Some of the pastors laid hands on her and prayed for God to guide her leadership, and then all the pastors and ministers shook her hand while the congregation sang “Order My Steps.”
Anita Gaddis sang “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” before Brother Eugene took Jeremiah 2:21 for his text, and preached a message titled “What Happened?” He encouraged the congregation to nurture the seed God has planted in their hearts by living holy lives that are pleasing to Him.
During the Sunday afternoon youth service, it was mentioned that the theme for the young people during camp was “Power of the Gospel: Knowledge, Application, and Faith,” and that there would be a couple of youth development sessions to emphasize the theme. Before the sermon, Ruth and Feyi Folarin sang “Farther Along.” Leonard Pressley, from Columbia, South Carolina, read Jeremiah 1:4-6 for his text, and reminded the young people that regardless of who they are or where they have been, they can be defined by the love and power of God working in their lives if they will give their hearts to Him.
The evening services were led by various regions of the Southern and Eastern churches. The service on Sunday evening was led by the Alabama and Georgia churches. The choir opened with “Come, Let Us Adore Him.” After the congregational singing led by Nathaniel Segres, the pastor in Atlanta, Georgia, and remarks from Sister Josephine, the choir sang “Thank You, Jesus,” with Veda Ojo as the soloist. The Scripture reading by Walter Cobb, the pastor in Birmingham (Springville Road), Alabama, was taken from Matthew 14:22-32. Sister Helen then gave an exhortation from John 19:28-30, bringing out that Jesus paid a great price for mankind’s salvation, and it is up to each one to follow His will for his or her life.
Before the sermon, Victoria Bates sang “I Pray We All Be Ready for His Return.” Brother Bob read Hebrews 11:1-3 for his text, and brought out that God hears the requests and meets the needs of those who believe His promises and put their trust in Him.
Monday was a workday on the campground, and several projects were accomplished. On Monday evening, the churches in D.C., New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia were in charge. The service opened with a flute and clarinet duet from East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, followed by the choir singing “How Great Is Our God.” Olulana Alofe, the group leader in East Bridgewater, led the song service. Before the testimony portion of the service, the choir sang “Let the Glory of the Lord Rise Among Us.” Before the sermon, a men’s trio from East Bridgewater sang “If My People.” Ron Gaddis, the pastor in Richmond, Virginia, took his text from John 1:35-38, and encouraged the congregation to truly follow Jesus and let Him direct their lives.
Before the Tuesday morning Bible teaching, Martha Dixon sang “Fill Me Up, God.” Brother Bob read Matthew 7:13-14 for his text, and spoke about “Our Final Destination.” He gave an overview of upcoming Biblical events, including the Rapture of the Church, Marriage Supper of the Lamb, Great Tribulation, Second Coming of Christ, Millennial Reign, Great White Throne Judgment, Heaven, and Hell, and encouraged the congregation to make sure their final destination is Heaven.
The churches in Texas and Southern Florida were in charge of the Tuesday evening service. Abigail Ashe, from Key West, Florida, led the song service. The choir sang “You Deserve It” and “Highway to Heaven.” Before the sermon, Adefunke Lamidi sang “Where Your Glory Dwells.” Ernest Marshall, the pastor in Fort Worth, Texas, read 2 Corinthians 3:1-5 for his text, and asked the questions, “What does the world see in you?” and “What kind of icon are you displaying?” Comparing the Christian life to a company icon, he encouraged the congregation to be true to what God has called them to be.
Wednesday was Women’s Day. All the women and young girls were beautifully dressed in white, and they lined up for a processional into the tabernacle as they sang “Jesus, the Light of the World.” The theme for this year was “Living with the Lights On.” The women’s choir sang “Victory Is Mine,” with Yolanda Johnson as the soloist. Women from the Southern and Eastern United States who had passed away during the previous year were mentioned by name as candles were lit. Those who had experienced milestones such as weddings, new careers, graduations, new babies, retirements, first time at Women’s Day, and new spiritual callings were also mentioned. Martha Dixon read 1 John 1:5-7 for the Scripture reading, and then Sharon Thibela sang “Trust in You.” DeLiso Presley took her text from Luke 1:11-13, 24-25, bringing out that the world is looking for Christians to be different from the world.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Women’s Day activities continued. After the congregational singing and personal testimonies, Michele Greene read the theme verses from 1 John 1:5-7, followed by Sister Yolanda singing “The Windows of Heaven are Open.” Eunice Ekpin, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, read Genesis 45:1-5 for her text, and emphasized that “Living with the Lights On” means to be ready to shine the Light of the Gospel to others, and be obedient to God’s call.
The churches in D.C., New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia were in charge of the Wednesday evening service. It opened with an instrumental ensemble playing “Majesty.” Then the choir sang “Because of Who You Are,” with Abbie Wyatt as the soloist. Later, the choir also sang “These Are the Days of Elijah.” Before the sermon, Elizabeth Adebayo sang “O How He Loves You and Me.” Peter Passade, from Brooklyn (265 Lafayette), New York, took his texts from Psalm 137:1-6 and Ezra 8:21-22, 29, and encouraged the congregation to embrace the truths of the Gospel and treasure the legacy that has been passed to them.
Before the Bible teaching on Thursday morning, Lilly Segres sang “My God Is Real.” Johnny Wyatt Jr., the pastor in Brooklyn (265), read 2 Samuel 11:1-5 and Psalm 51:1-13 for his texts, and using King David as an example, he spoke about the warning signs of spiritual decline and the prayer that brings restoration.”
The Thursday evening service was led by the churches in Northern Florida and Alabama. Sharon Jones opened the service with a vocal solo, “Jesus, Use Me.” Before the sermon, Lavon Brown sang “God Kept Me.” Henry Swanston, the pastor in Century, took his text from Matthew 5:6, and encouraged the congregation to hunger and thirst for what God has for them, and receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit. The prayer meeting that followed lasted until the early hours of the next morning as people prayed, sang, and testified of receiving experiences from God.
Before the Friday morning Bible teaching, Heyward Segars sang “Because He Lives.” James Timbilla, the pastor in Wharton, New Jersey, took his text from John 15, and exhorted the congregation to cast all their cares on God, knowing and believing that being connected with Him is the only way to successfully navigate their spiritual walks.
On Friday evening, the churches in North and South Carolina led the service. Before he led the congregational singing, Dennis Jackson, from Aiken, South Carolina, shared a portion of his testimony of how God delivered him from cancer. Before the sermon, Karolyn Segres sang “You Can Depend on Jesus.” Dwane Ross, from Kingstree, South Carolina, gave the message on “Walking in an Attitude of Worship.”
The annual picnic on Saturday afternoon was sponsored by the Women’s Organization. Everyone enjoyed the hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, and cookies, as the youth played ball, jumped rope, and tried to catch bubbles from the bubble blower machine.
Later that afternoon, there was a retirement celebration for Brother Eugene at the Agricultural Building in Century. It was a formal affair with a beautifully catered meal. Several reminisced about Brother Eugene’s tenure as pastor and district superintendent, and it was affirmed that he and his wife, Sister Gertie, have served well down through the years.
A concert orchestrated by Dennis Segres, the pastor in Birmingham, Alabama, was held on Saturday evening. The concert began with congregational singing led by Brother Nathaniel. Then the choir sang four selections: “Uncloudy Day,” “Lord, It Was You,” “Pass Me Not,” and “The Storm Is Passing Over.” A group from East Bridgewater and Richmond presented two instrumental numbers, and Brother Lateaf played “My Soul Has Been Anchored” on the saxophone. It was the perfect ending to an event-filled day.
The camp meeting concluded on Sunday morning with a message from Sister Josephine encouraging the congregation to be fully persuaded to serve the Lord. The prayer is that all who attended the camp meeting will continue to grow in their walks with God as Jesus tarries.