19th January 2017

Over 1000 pastors and lay members packed Newbold College's auditoriums and Newbold church to attend the South England Conference's (SEC) annual Evangelism Expo 2017, making this the largest attended event of its kind.

The was the opportunity for all lay members to look at evangelism under the microscope. Guest speaker Pastor Mark Finley, Assistant to the President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, kicked off the special one-day training with an encouraging message, under the theme 'Preparation for the Harvest', on Sunday 8 January 2017.

"God is on the move in the South England Conference. The Holy Spirit is touching hearts… 2017 provides an amazing opportunity to touch people for Jesus' Kingdom", said Finley.

As part of the four-year 'Evangelism, Everyone, Everywhere' plan, 2017 IMG_4803focuses on 'Restoration', and the Evangelism Expo was the perfect opportunity to share the strategic emphasis for the year.

"You should feel empowered to go back to your church, to the community and make a change", said Paul Lee, Assistant to the SEC President.

The Evangelism Expo has a dual purpose. Firstly, it is a training and developing day for new members of churches' working teams or as a refresher for those who attend the Expo annually and need to go over duties once again. These training sessions are provided through workshops by the SEC's departmental IMG_4855directors, teaching their attendees how to provide the best service possible for the church and their community. But also, these workshops keep churches connected when talking about their progress or issues with other members.

SEC Executive Secretary Pastor Douglas McCormac clarified that the SEC is here to serve the members and to serve the Church, by kicking off the new year in a way that brings everyone together.

"A number of people have spoken about the fact that they want to see the Conference be more like a family and this brings us together, it helps us realise to see what everyone is doing and encourages them to work together because we are there to share the gospel message", said McCormac.

Secondly, the Evangelism Expo is, of course, geared towards evangelism. This was an opportunity for churches and individuals to learn how to interact with members of the community, whether it is knocking on doors or connecting with the local press. The departments and the Adventist Book Centre (ABC) along with other exhibitors at the Expo provided resources specifically geared towards evangelism.

One aspect SEC's Acting President Pastor Emmanuel Osei brought up was why it is important to work with local councils, he said that it "exposes the church to the community in a positive way."

The whole Expo was geared towards teaching the members to reach people in areas where they possibly would never meet before and introducing the Church in a very positive way. This is all leading towards the 2018 Evangelistic Campaign, and the Conference can expect Pastor Finley to visit before the end of this year for more training.

Osei concluded by saying: "As we leave this place we do so recharged, inspired and enthused, ready to do something for God in this mission that He has given us."


A selection of photos from the day can be found on the Adventist Church's picture gallery.

[Natasha Mirilov ]


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