Rajmund Dabrowski – Montrose, Colorado … “As we have been driving up and down the mountain, as we have spent time here at the Mountain Top Retreat, we have seen the wonders of the world You have made….” The Sabbath morning prayer offered by Pastor Steve Schwartz, pastor of Delta and Cedaredge churches, bridged a reflection of God’s creation, visible and enjoyable, at the Uncompahgre National Forest where the 7th Annual Western Slope Camp Meeting took place August 3-7. Over 200 church members from local congregations participated in the gathering.
The venue was appropriate for several presentations on “Sabbath: Day of Exquisite Delight” by Dr. Jo Ann and Dr. Richard Davidson, theology professors from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan.
“When I look at the Bible, I see how many things of salvation history happened on the mountains. So, I was tickled to know that this camp meeting was on the mountainside. It’s been a blessed experience to be here, to be away from the city noise and city stress, and be up here, for God’s glory in nature is all around us. I don’t want it to be over,” said Dr. Jo Ann Davidson.
Similarly, Dr. Richard Davidson recalled being at a camp meeting in downtown Los Angeles, crowded with people, and “to be here on the mountain top with people who love nature and who love each other, who come together to study about the Sabbath and about God’s wonders and created works, my soul has been filled this week.”
Both presenters saw camp meeting participants engaged and challenged to go beyond understanding the correctness of Shabbat as a seventh day. “Think of the Sabbath not only as a right day but as a living experience. … Sabbath is a gift for the human race,” said Richard Davidson.
Both lecturers shared eight presentations, covering Old and New Testament times, as well as the need to “live the Sabbath” today. Referring to herself as a “militant Seventh-day Adventist,” Jo Ann Davidson explained that “we [as Seventh-day Adventists] give a wrong impression about the Sabbath. … We teach about the day itself, but not how to live it.”
Conversations among the camp meeting participants were full of positive comments and how they were affected by the presentations. They enjoyed meeting fellow believers and re-kindling friendships with the added challenge for the church to learn the rules of nature.
Two workshops covered the FARM STEW, a program referred to as a “recipe for an abundant life.” According to presenters, Pastor Fritz Krieger and Dan Golden from Montrose, “families who struggled with food insecurity, depression, exhaustion, poor nutrition, disease, addictions, poverty, and dehydration have found hope in the ingredients of the FARM STEW.” They shared the recipe, which relates to the name itself: Farming, Attitude, Rest, Meals, Sanitation, Temperance, Enterprise, and Water. The program, as an independent ministry, has been available to internationally since 2015 and has affected many communities, positively changing their lifestyle.
Sonia Ball from Montrose said she “enjoyed the fellowship with members from different churches, a good, old Adventist family. Plus, the surroundings are so serene and peaceful.” She singled out the music of the weekend. “The Heavenly Father inhabits our praises,” she said.
Don and Donna Mohl, a Folk Mountain Gospel group from Tennessee, led the music with local talent joining them enthusiastically. A camp meeting women’s choir added their talents in a Sabbath worship performance.
Steve Schwartz expressed that the nature of a camp meeting gathering is friends meeting friends, new friendships being formed, and a family of God enjoying their fellowship. He watched church members come to the gathering, with “a few people to start with, and more joining in. Some [of them] wander outside, some come inside into the hall, both blessed. It tells me that God is in both places,” he commented.
–Text and photos by Rajmund Dabrowski