CHANNELS ISLANDS FIRST CAMP MEETING
7th September 2017
Guernsey and Jersey are two of the several islands that form the Channel Islands. Often known for being tax safe havens with numerous off shore accounts, the islands that form part of the South England Conference may seem far from the minds of members within this territory. However, with the demand for qualified accountants and taxation specialists, there has been in recent years, a surge of overseas personnel filling these positions. Amongst these are Seventh-day Adventists from Zimbabwe, Uganda and South Africa. Combining both islands of Guernsey and Jersey there are now over 30 Adventists worshipping together each week. (See church website here.)
So, from Friday 25 to Sunday 27 August for the first time Adventists from both islands came together for a weekend of spiritual retreat on the tranquil island of Herm under the theme – 'Pioneers, glow in the dark'. This was a special time for members to commune with God in nature away from the everyday hustle and bustle of the city life and the distractions that come with it. Under the guidance of Pastor Richard Daly from the British Union Conference, the two-day programme went was enjoyed by all, the end of which came so fast that people longed for extra time.
The first day saw almost all the members and other visitors from the two islands of Jersey and Guernsey arrive in Herm on the mid-afternoon ferry. Setting up on the campsite was quickly completed leaving the rest of the afternoon spent by friends from the two islands catching up on life.
The children within the group were visibly happy to have the opportunity to play without any hinderances. By sunset, all was set for the vespers service which was held at the St Tugul's Chapel. Members were delighted to witness a beautiful sunset on the ocean line showing the handiwork of God. With a programme tightly packed with activities to ensure the 2-day event was as fruitful, Sabbath morning devotion started at 6:00 am with members thanking God for the day and praying for His guidance on the activities of the day. This was followed by morning activities such as breakfast and shower at the campsite which was limited using an 8-minute timer, which although initially was a concern, proved to be ample time.
More campers arrived in the morning of the Sabbath day from Guernsey including day visitors. With singing only allowed after 10:00 am, the second programme for the day at 9:00 am was the Sabbath School Lesson with separate classes held for the Adventurers and Pathfinders. Later as songs of praises continued to belt out of the small chapel, various visitors to the island would be seen peering through the chapel to witness this jubilant people offering praise to their God. The group truly became a spectacle.
Pastor Daly then shared a sermon on prayer as a form of communication to God, using the example of how couples engage in a conversation. He then went on to teach on the levels of communication which should be applied in our prayer life and the related distractions that we have to guard against. He also gave a personal example of how distractions can be dangerous when he was shut out of a flight on a stopover in Los Angeles which was well received by the congregation. He emphasised the need for persistence in prayer as depicted in the story of the unjust judge in Luke 18:1-10.
After lunch, afternoon lessons were in the sunny outdoors. Adventurers and Pathfinders embarked on a Bible-themed treasure hunt with clues scattered across the island. The adults would have their Bible study led by Pastor Daly on how to be better partners in a marriage. In line with being in harmony with nature and worshipping the God of nature, the lesson was held by the beach side on a sunny day. After the lessons, all members had an opportunity to head out on a nature walk exploring the beachline. To allow everyone the opportunity to see the island, adults supported the Pathfinders conclude their treasure hunt on the way back to the campsite.
Back at the campsite, it was now time for the men in the group to prepare dinner giving an opportunity for the ladies to rest. They lived up to the expectations, producing a deliciously made chapatti and beans to the thrill of the ladies.
With the approval of the campsite owners, the day ended on a high note as the closing service was held at the campsite in front of the other campers. Pastor Daly called on members to give personal testimonies as a way of thanking God for all His providence which was well received.
The final day came too early with the first programme being morning devotion. To mark the morning, a mini sermon based on the theme of the camp meeting was presented by Sister Chido Chibaya on being light bearers in our walk of life that we may lead others to Christ through our conduct. After breakfast, it was time to have the final meeting before members could start packing to leave. The final adult presentation was led by Pastor Daly from 2 Kings 6:24-7:20. This was a timely parting message to the small group. Thanksgiving messages were exchanged at the end and the team started to pack for home.
This was truly a blessed time; the members look forward to next year's camp.
[Gareth and Tapiwa]