NE Colorado Camp Meeting: EGW, Babylon, and Men Sing!
This past weekend, July 24-26, was the Northeast Colorado Camp Meeting, held at Campion Academy. The camp’s theme this year was “The Mission of Adventism and the Prophetic Writings” with the key speaker, Merlin Burt. Having worked as the director of the White Estate Branch Office in Michigan for many years, Burt shared many insights into the writings of Ellen White as well as some fascinating stories involving the early Adventist historical figures.
“Merlin Burt really showed how Ellen White was focused on bringing people into a closer walk with Jesus,” said Jared Henry, a recent Union College graduate and Bible teacher at Rio Lindo Academy. “She really cared about the people she was writing for. Whether she was rebuking them or encouraging them, you could tell from her letters that she wanted the best for them.
Sabbath school included a lively panel comprised of Pastor Micheal Goetz of the Campion Church, Pastor Wayne Morrison of the Brighton Church, Erik Stenbakken from the Adventure Church, and Carl Divert from the Fort Collins Church. The theme, “Reclaiming the Gospel,” was introduced by Pastor Daniel Birai of the Fort Collins Church, who stood as the mediator of the panel. The congregation texted in questions for the four men to answer and there were some tense moments.
For instance, one question was “should we be going to Babylon for truth?” Some wondered if this was simply a rhetorical question. The panel responded diversely, one commenting with an adamant ‘no’ and another saying that the answer depended on the definition of the term, Babylon. Many questions referred to the topic of “Reclaiming the Gospel” and asked the panelists if the church was reclaiming something that was already lost or lost partially. Pastor Birai wrapped up the panel by stating that it all came down to each individual and their personal relationship with Jesus.
Another special aspect of the camp meeting this year was the first ever conference-wide men’s chorus. There ended up being fifteen participants, who sang four songs throughout the weekend, all in matching white shirts and black trousers. One of the singers was Craig Carr, the ministerial director of the Rocky Mountain Conference.
“It was really groovy singing with all those men,” he exclaimed, laughing. “Our illustrious director [George Swanson] did a wonderful job of pulling us together from all different directions. Coming together to do music has a very powerful bonding experience.” He also reminisced about singing the very same Wayne Hooper arrangements in his college quartet. The men’s chorus was a fun addition that brought men together from all over the conference and was appreciated by all in attendance.
Forgetting about the music and the speakers, camp meetings are always lauded for the opportunity to reunite with old friends. “I went to camp meeting as a kid,” said Sheila Blankenship, a member of the Brighton Church and a singer from the praise team on Saturday night. “I’m used to a week-long camp meeting so I can’t not go! It’s something that’s in my blood. Reconnecting with people from other congregations and seeing those that I wouldn’t normally see, that’s what I always appreciate.” [Katie Morrison; Photo by Tyler Morrison]