130th Annual Camp Meeting
July 28, 2018—Opening night at the Salvation Army’s 130thAnnual Camp Meetings began with tremendous flashes of lightning and magnificent claps of thunder. As hundreds of attendees sat under the wings of the Pavilion, protected from the pouring rain, the Household Troops Band, the Eastern Territorial Staff Songsters, and Unbound ministered in music for the crowd. The cloudbursts served as a fitting accompaniment to the inspiring performances and as a real-time illustration of the sheer majesty of God.
Commissioner Marianne Adams, who brought the devotional message, said, “Some people are scared of thunder and lightning. But I kind of like it.” Adams shared a story about a little girl who expressed her confidence in God through a storm she saw through her window. “The little girl said, ‘I’m not afraid of the lightning. That’s God taking pictures with His camera!’”
Using references from Hebrews 11:32–34, 38–40, and 12:1, Adams used a biblical lens to frame an encouraging picture for her audience to see. “Never stop sharing stories of hope,” she said. “Go out into this world and keep sharing powerful stories of Jesus!”
In response to the message and music ministry, people came to the mercy seat for prayer. Among them were men and women of the Adult Rehabilitation Centers (ARC). Earlier in the evening, they had filled the platform in record numbers to sing a powerful rendition of “You Lifted Me Out.”
Other seekers were officers, soldiers, and visitors—all hoping to cultivate deeper relationships with the Lord and to truly experience His spiritually electrifying power from on High.
Also that evening, Commissioners William A. and G. Lorraine Bamford, territorial leaders, introduced Commissioners Clive and Marianne Adams to the camp meetings and to their audience. The leaders of the Sweden and Latvia Territory will serve as guest speakers for the meetings, sharing their many years of experience as Salvation Army officers, having served separately and together in more that 12 countries.
Married in 1990, they conducted their courtship via letters of love sent over a distance of two continents. Commissioner Clive is a South African and Commissioner Marianne is Norwegian.
A highlight of the evening was a video presentation featuring Colonel (Dr.) Herbert and Colonel Lois Rader. They reflected on the generations of the Rader family who have served in ministry. “Father wanted to tell people about Jesus 24/7,” said Colonel Herbert Rader. Colonel Lois said, “I say to all the generations, may you never be ashamed of the name of Jesus!”
Earlier in the day, blue skies, sparkling ocean water, and warm sand caressed the many families who enjoyed the beach, amusements at the Pier, and the quaint venues that make Old Orchard Beach unique. “We’re praying God will bring us more of that kind of weather tomorrow, so be sure to meet us for Bible study with Lt. Colonel Patricia LaBossiere on the beach!” said Commissioner William Bamford.
Sunday will begin with Prayer Meeting in the OOB Corps Chapel at 9 a.m. The Pavilion Meeting will begin at 10 a.m., featuring a message from Commissioner Clive Adams, and a March of Witness at 3:00 p.m. The evening Pier Ministry Festival and OOB Camp Meeting will begin at 7 p.m.
July 29, 2018—Dazzling sunlight ushered in Camp Meeting Sunday. After last night’s torrential rain, blue sky, a soft breeze, and beautiful vocal and instrumental music coming from the Seaside Pavilion filled the air. Indeed, God had answered Commissioner William A. Bamford’s prayer for a brighter day.
At 9 a.m., that morning, inside the Corps Chapel, Lt. Colonel Patricia LaBossiere led a prayer meeting that took participants on a journey of praise, intercession, expectation and going forth. They sang,
“These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the word of the Lord
And these are the days of Your servant Moses
Righteousness being restored
And though these are days of great trial
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still, we are the voice in the desert crying
‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord!’”
As the singing groups and bands assembled on the Pavilion platform in preparation for the 10 a.m. Camp Meeting, fervent and powerful prayer inside the Chapel went up to God. Various people prayed for a day of transformation, revelation, and consecration.
Commissioner Bamford echoed those prayers from the platform as the meeting began. “Set aside distress and distraction, Lord. We pray for your presence in this place,” he said. “We want to encounter You and embark on a journey to win the war for Jesus. Because of You, may we calmly face adversity. We are uniquely positioned to minister to the world.”
Music by the Household Troops Band, the Eastern Territory Staff Songsters, Unbound, Karen Krinjak, and the ARC Chorus offered vocal and instrumental sounds that were rich and deep, challenging hearers in the Pavilion and perhaps the surrounding neighborhood to cultivate a more loving relationship with God. Two members of the Creative Arts Service Team (CAST) recited lyrics to “Take Time To Be Holy” as the band performed it.
Kenneth Averett of the Saugus, Maine ARC, offered his introspective testimony on video. He described how his transformational journey from despair and drug addiction to recovery and purpose has truly changed his life. “You are what you think you are,” he said. “The Salvation Army saved me. They loved me when I didn’t even love myself.”
A scriptural recitation, accompanied by guitar and sacred dance and performed by the Territorial Arts Ministries (TAM) team, brought Colossians 3:1–17 to life. Then Commissioner Clive Adams launched his second message of the day into that sacred space.
“We are called to be Kingdom people,” Adams said. “That makes us ‘strategically placed strangers.’” He said, as Christians, “God has placed us all over the world and it is time for us to stand up and share the Good News. We must demonstrate that we are set apart—sanctified for God’s special work. Look at your identity in Jesus, rather than at your nationality [as an American, South African or European].”
Adams said that, in making our theology a reality, “we must take off the old life and put on the new life,” alluding to his scriptural reference from Colossians. Adams challenged everyone to examine the worldly influences that relentlessly pressure Christians to conform to political, national, and racial identities and instead, put God first. “We must be Kingdom people, demonstrating a Kingdom personality, with a Kingdom perspective!”
Later, people came to the mercy seat to ask God’s help in standing up for Him in today’s world—for such a time as this.
Salvation Army Steampunk
Saturday night, a thunderstorm kept the Old Orchard Beach Pier Festival from its debut. But on the Lord’s day, Envoy Steve Bussey saw the turn of events as an opportunity to showcase the elaborate stage and pier performers.
“Every year, we are always ready to pack up in case of any storms. They can show up within 10 minutes of a sunny day,” says Bussey. “This time, we took the opportunity as we were leaving to let people know that we would be back on Sunday.”
The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Come to Life,’ based on the words of Jesus in the Book of John: I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. The pier stage took on a steampunk setting, complete with steam-powered machinery, smoke-filled and lighted tubes, and scaffoldings elevated by pipes and rusty metal.
Be sure to read Thursday’s wrap up when we’ll cover this year’s Pier Festival in its entirety.
Sunday evening service: ‘The family that eats together …”
Quoting Deuteronomy 6:5–7, Commissioner G. Lorraine Bamford reminded the audience that faith in God has a great impact on families and families have an impact on faith. “The Lord wants the word to be on our hearts and calls us to teach it to our families,” she said. “As Christians, it is our foundation—our heritage.”
Bamford then introduced the audience to the Joyce family, a Salvation Army “Legacy Family.” She invited Colonel Alice Joyce, Lieutenant Jamie L. Crowell, and Carol B. Crowell to the platform. “How has the foundation of faith been built in your family?” Bamford asked. They responded by describing 40 years of life as Salvationists with their “boots on the ground,” being moved on the average of every three years to a new appointment, and maturing as Christians in the process.
They also told a heartwarming story of discovering a third cousin who had been adopted from Korea by the family when he was a baby.
Commissioner Clive Adams spoke on the topic of blood relatives, saying that as Christians, we are related to each other by the blood of Jesus. “He shed His blood for all of us.” Adams revisited the old adage, “blood is thicker than water” and said that in its original form, it meant that blood shed on the battlefield is thicker than the water of a mother’s womb. “For a family to be a family,” Adams said, “there needs to be a blood connection, there needs to be a bonded and covenanted community, and there needs to be a boundless commitment to the family and to its survival.”
Adams also pointed out that in the Church, Christians tend to put biological family ties above those formed in covenant with the blood of Jesus. “Sometimes families leave their covenant family over disputes. But we are blood relatives in Jesus Christ!”
A thoughtful crowd listened carefully to the message, and contemplated how, as Christians, they need to live and eat together—as family.
On Monday, the Corps Leadership Development Program (LEAD) will convene at the University of Northern New England. The Freedom 5K Run/walk will commence at 7:30 a.m. The Beach Bible Study and the Chapel Bible Study will also begin at 10 a.m. The Household Troops Band will be in concert at 7:30 p.m.
—Hugo Bravo and Warren L. Maye contributed to this story.
A Run to combat human trafficking
Runners, joggers, and walkers arrived Monday morning at Old Orchard Beach High School to take part in the Salvation Army’s 4thAnnual Freedom 5k Run/Walk. Hosts distributed water, coffee, and donuts to participants who had come to raise money for The Well, the Army’s anti-human trafficking program based in Portland, Maine.
At The Well, survivors receive emotional and spiritual support as they recover from exploitation. Last year, The Well helped over 40 women start a new life after being trafficked.
This year was the first time Jenny Clark managed the details for the 5K. She is the anti–human trafficking ministries coordinator for the Army’s Portland, Maine (Citadel) Corps.
“We’re happy that we have beautiful weather to greet over 140 runners today,” said Clark.
At the starting line, Steve Minich, WNTW local news announcer, welcomed the runners. Minich reflected on the 10-year relationship that WNTW has enjoyed with the Army. In addition to the 5k Run, the station had also helped promote Red Kettle Kickoff events at Christmastime.
Through his work as a news reporter, Minich has learned that even small towns like Old Orchard Beach are not safe from the scourge of human trafficking.
“If you have not had the opportunity to learn more about human trafficking or you would like to seek help for someone you know, I encourage you to visit the Army’s tables when the 5k is over,” said Minich.
At a table representing SA Justice, Major Sue Dunnigan said that many people are surprised when they learn that the Army is involved in the fight against human trafficking.
“But historically, this has always been part of our mission,” said Dunnigan. “Founder William Booth went to court to testify how dangerously easy it was to purchase another human being. In 1885, the wife of Bramwell Booth took women out of the streets and cared for them,” said Dunnigan.
“Today, we are not just helping the women, but going further to help pass laws to protect them and educate others on human trafficking,” said Dunnigan. “When you’re meeting the need of your community, that need will always look different in different parts of the world.”
Dunnigan also shared another lesser-known story about the Army’s fight against human trafficking. In 1902, Salvationists in Japan went into brothels to help the women who were working there, even as angry brothel owners screamed and threw rocks at the Salvationists.
The Salvationist message in Japan was one that could still be applied to its work today: Anyone that wants to come out, is safe with us.
Bible studies on the beach and in the Chapel
The sufficiency of Christ
Lt. Colonel Patricia LaBossiere opened the first day of Beach Bible Study with a prayer. She thanked the Lord for the opportunity to have an open discussion of the Bible in such a refreshing atmosphere.
“We ask You, Lord, to bless our brothers and sisters around the world who do not have the type of freedom we have here today,” said LaBossiere.
LaBossiere said that conducting Bible study by the shore draws a different demographic, but at the same time, is an example of open–air ministry that is so closely aligned with The Salvation Army.
“There are people who would not walk into a corps, but would be drawn to a discussion of the Word of God, if it’s on a beach early on a beautiful morning,” says LaBossiere. “We have had folks come to sit with us for just a few minutes the first day, but the next day, be back to learn more.”
Throughout the week, LaBossiere’s Bible study will focus on the book of Colossians, beginning with the Apostle Paul’s letter to the people of Colossae, an ancient city in Asia Minor.
“We talk a lot these days about ‘fake news,’ but it is not a new concept,” LaBossiere explained during the Bible study. “In biblical days, there was also fake teachings and heresy.”
“Even in a time when there were still people alive who had witnessed the resurrection of Christ, there were fake teachings,” said LaBossiere. “These teachers said that Jesus was not the divine Son of God, that salvation could not be found solely in Him, and that there was secret knowledge that only certain people had access to and who could be saved.”
In his letter, Paul encouraged Christians, reminding them that God is with them, even as the town of Colossae was going through hardship and sorting out the “fake news.”
“We focus this week on the supremacy of Christ and the sufficiency of Christ,” said LaBossiere. “God will always be enough; we don’t need to look further than Him for our salvation.”
Chapel Bible study
Dr. David Rightmire took a different look at Paul’s letters, particularly one written to the church in Philippi,a city in ancient Macedonia. “Theologians have called it the ‘captivity epistle’ because at the time of its writing, Paul was in jail, but more accurately, under ‘house arrest, rather than imprisoned,” said Rightmire.
The difference is more than just an exercise in semantics, said Rightmire, who teaches at Asbury University and has served as Professor of Bible and Theology there since 1985. “Paul, a Roman citizen and follower of Christ, was physically chained to palace guards, who had to listen to him as he constantly witnessed to them about the love and power of Christ. So, who was the imprisoned one? Being chained to the guard gave Paul unique benefits!”
Rightmire pointed out that Paul’s stand for Christ was an encouragement to Christians rather than a disappointment. Paul’s faith that God would vindicate him as He had vindicated Job inspired new believers to join the ranks. Paul’s declaration “…to live is Christ and to die is gain” made it clear that, in any event, Paul would be victorious in Jesus.
Rightmire essentially described a three–way bond of love—Paul, the Philippians, and the Church. As a result, Christians were encouraged and gained faith by Paul’s imprisonment.
Even those who preached the “fake news” as Lt. Colonel Patricia LaBossiere was describing it in her Beach Bible study just a mile away, were in Paul’s estimation, getting people excited. “It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of good will,” wrote Paul. “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”
Dr. Rightmire said his series of Bible studies will center on two principles; the exegesis (allowing the text to speak for itself) and understanding its literary context. “We are coming to the letter as would a third party,” he said. “As such, we must learn to read between the lines.”
Shipwrecked at OOB
While adults attended the Pavilion meeting, the children and young teens decorated the Old Orchard Beach Corps Tabernacle to look like a fantasy shipwreck. There they spent the afternoon singing, playing games, and engaging in fun devotionals.
Major Phil Lloyd, who wore a straw hat and dressed like a castaway, said that so far, as many as 100 children had come to the meetings. “They are all learning about God’s love, and how Jesus can help them live better lives.”
Soldiers, who came from all over the USA Eastern Territory, sported bright blue t-shirts and helped the youth department staff. Valentina Agutelo, from the Meriden, Conn. Corps, helped register children for the meetings.
“It’s so great seeing The Salvation Army taking over the whole town for a week. Everyone always has so many questions about us when we come,” says Agutelo.
Matthew Rosamilia, from the Queens, (Temple) N.Y., Corp said, “At the meetings, we turn devotionals into plays that the kids can act out. It’s a good way to get them involved and remember the lessons.”
Maggie Richwine, from the Cincinnati (West Side) Ohio, Corps, attended for the first time.
“Growing up in the Army, I always heard about OOB. I love the beach, and since there’s no beach anywhere near where I live, it’s great to see how the Army can come together in a place like this,” said Richwine.
Richwine, was moved at how the songs had affected a particular child.
“One of the moms who attended the Pavilion showed us a video of her and her son walking back home. He was singing a song that he had learned here at the meetings,” says Richwine, smiling. “In two days, he had learned all the words. And he’s only three years old!”
“Music is such a big part of The Salvation Army. That’s when you really see how the hours here have impacted the children. Even if they don’t know exactly what they are singing right now, they know that love is now in them.”
The Household Troops Band in concert
An amazing day at Old Orchard Beach Camp meetings culminated with a stirring concert of exciting brass band music, delivered by the Household Troops Band, with words of inspiration and encouragement from Lt. Colonel David Phillips.
Under the leadership of Bandmaster Carl Saunders, the band, originally formed in 1887 and previously known as the Life Guards, offered a variety of numbers. One piece, “Sunrise Over Blue Ridge” described in imaginative melodies the mountain range in the United States of the same name. Another piece, written by Stephen Bulla, also delighted the audience.
Since taking over leadership of the band in 2010, Saunders has conducted his seventh recording this year. He also leads his corps band at Cardiff Canton in Wales.
Camp meetings continue tomorrow with Family Fun Night starting at 5:00 p.m., under the leadership of Majors Jodi E. and Philip A. Lloyd.
Hugo Bravo & Warren L. Maye contributed to the story
Family Fun Night begins early
It’s become somewhat of a tradition at the Old Orchard Beach Camp Meetings to get things started early on Tuesday night.
It’s billed as “Family Fun Night” and the show this year got started two hours before the usual 7 p.m. start time with children and their parents enjoying a climbing wall, pony rides, balloon animals, a petting zoo, bounce houses, face painting, and more.
Summer Brass played throughout the Pavilion grounds, where Salvationists have gathered for their annual camp meetings since 1885.
Among the families touring the grounds was Gavin and Jen Whitehouse of Philadelphia. The couple brought their three young children, ages 5, 3, and 2.
“Our kids love it,” Jen said. “It’s family fun. It’s free.”
“We’re here to see our kids get up on stage and perform [with the Camp Meeting Kids’ Chorus],” said Gavin, the divisional music director in the Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Division.
The program in the Pavilion got started promptly at 7 p.m. with songs by the children, who learned about God’s love through the popular Vacation Bible School (VBS) program “Shipwrecked.”
“We’ve been shipwrecked with your kids,” Major Jodi Lloyd, the associate territorial youth secretary, told parents. “We’ve learned that Jesus rescues us.”
Major Philip Lloyd, territorial youth secretary, delivered a short devotional telling parents that their children learned that God loves themregardless of their sins.
“Nothing separates us from the love of God. Did you get that this week?” Lloyd said, turning to the chorus.
The shortened program in the Pavilion also featured Summer Brass, a performance by rePercussion, a drum group, a T-shirt launch, and video testimonies from the Hands On mission teams that ministered this summer.
The evening ended with parents and children enjoying refreshments in a tent adjacent to the Pavilion.
Finding her voice through Hands On
Maggie Richwine said her summer trip with the Hands On mission team was a life-changing experience.
“The biggest thing I got out of it spiritually was God works in so many different ways,” Richwine said. “He really calls us and equips us to do anything that He wants us to do.
“There were so many things I felt I wasn’t capable of doing, and I wouldn’t be good at, but God gave me the capabilities and the confidence to step out of my comfort zone.”
Richwine was the leader of the Homeland team, which traveled to the Southern Territory and ministered in in Raleigh, N.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Chattanooga, Tenn.
Other Hands On teams went to Denmark, Greenland, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Zimbabwe.
Richwine’s team conducted a music camp, homeless outreach, a Vacation Bible School (VBS) and other children’s ministries.
“We took the kids to Duke University just so they could see what a college campus looks like,” she said.
“I learned over the summer that I have a voice and that I’m more than I was allowing myself to be. I was almost stopping myself from reaching what God wanted me to do with my life. I was almost running from my calling. I just learned to push myself out of my comfort zone.
Richwine, the daughter of Captains Doug and Patty Richwine of the Cincinnati, Ohio, West Side Corps, is studying communications and business at Asbury College and hopes to work for The Salvation Army someday.
“I just love The Salvation Army and its mission and I want to give back,” she said.
“I learned so much about myself and about working in a team unit on this trip. I also learned a lot about The Salvation Army Army I didn’t know. The Army is a very complex and a beautiful organization that I was almost taking for granted.”
From a shelter to Summer Brass
Edward Hardy and his family were in a homeless shelter four years ago in Newark, N.J.
On Tuesday, he found himself in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, playing percussion with Summer Brass and entertaining the crowds during “Family Fun Night.”
Hardy said a friend invited him to the Newark, N.J., Ironbound Corps while he was in the shelter, which was run by the YMCA.
“I started going to the corps and two years ago I became a senior soldier,” Hardy said.
Hardy not only accepted Christ at the corps, but learned to play percussion through its music program.
“I’m very grateful to The Salvation Army,” he said. “My way of repaying them is through music and helping out at the corps and just being available to them.”
This is Hardy’s second summer touring the territory with the 17-member Summer Brass and leading music conservatories for young people. Hardy said some of the kids he teaches are newcomers, “but when they see us performing, they’re actually motivated to continue practicing their instruments.”
Hardy said the summer of touring and performing has been a spiritual high.
“I think it’s an easier way to connect with God,” he said. “We’re not only connecting with God through music, but also through teaching and performing concerts.”
Far from done
The camp meetings continue tomorrow with CAST’s performance of “Godspell” at 7 p.m. in the Pavilion.
Daily Bible studies will also continue with a beach study led by Lt. Colonel Patricia LaBossiere, the territory’s secretary for spiritual development. Her study begins at 9 a.m. each day on the beach at the end of Union Avenue.
Dr. David Rightmire of Asbury College leads another study each day at 10:30 a.m. in the OOB Chapel.
The popular Pier Ministry, featuring a host of talented musicians, actors, acrobats, puppet shows and more, will continue from 7-10 p.m.
—By Robert Mitchell
Joyful spirit surrounds ‘Godspell’
The joy of the Lord abounded before a large crowd in the Pavilion on Wednesday night during CAST’s performance of the classic musical “Godspell.”
Skyela Bussey, a second-year member of CAST (Creative Arts Service Team), said that was purposeful.
“I hope people get the story of Jesus if they don’t know what the story is yet,” Bussey said of “Godspell,” which is based on the book of Matthew.
“However, for those who do know Jesus and His story, I hope that those people realize that there’s so much joy that comes through following Christ. There is so much singing and dancing and rejoicing. It isn’t all just quiet time. It’s being loud and being in yourself and having fun with Jesus. That’s really what the show is all about. It’s just being ourselves around Jesus.”
Hannah Furman, a third-year CAST member, agreed.
“I think a lot of time we forget how fun God is and how fun being a Christian is,” Furman said. “When you see that in front of you—through funny jokes and big numbers with dancing and jumping around—it shows you that God likes to have fun and how He just loves us to laugh and spend time with Him. That’s just like a loving and caring God.”
Ryan Livingston, another third-year CAST member who plays Jesus in the musical, said the life of Christ jumps out at people through “Godspell.” CAST—a troupe of young adult Salvationist actors—took the show on tour around the territory this summer before performing at the Old Orchard Beach Camp Meetings.
“The story of ‘Godspell’ is just the story of Jesus, which is amazing to be able to bring around the territory,” Livingston said. “I think what’s so amazing about this show is allowing people to see and experience with their eyes that discipleship that Jesus had with His disciples. It’s in real time, right in front of you, and you’re in it with them instead of just reading about it or hearing about it.
“It becomes real and you really get connected to all the characters and you, as an audience member, can really get drawn into the story, which I think is really amazing.”
This year’s 10-member CAST (Creative Arts Services Team) team, led by Ian Evans, also featured Peter Kochanek as John the Baptist and Judas, Alexis Duperree, Eric Hawkins, Megan Pentland, Lucas Urbina, Melyndee White, and Shante Christina Wong.
Making up the production team were Anna Street, director and music director; Doug Berry, band director; Kathryn Higgins, choreographer; Major Hollie Ruthberg, costume design; Matt Reynolds, set design; Eli Morgan, special effects consultant; Whitney Bahr, stage manager; and Carol Jaudes and Erin Morgan, producers.
“Godspell for us is an invitation to engage,” read a note “From the Producer” in the event program. “It’s a story of the forming of true community, It’s about encounter and experience with Jesus Himself.”
The band providing music for “Godspell” was led by Zach Smith, who played electric and acoustic guitar; Marcos Lopez, bass; Emma Ortiz, keyboard; Sarah Peabody, acoustic guitar; and Jacob Wiseman, drums.
CAST is one big family
The members of the Creative Arts Service Team, or CAST, said they drew close touring together this summer, teaching youngsters and performing throughout the territory.
“I really love the community aspect, being with the same group of people every day, learning how to live life with them,” Bussey said. “The thing I really like the most about it is we’re just a giant family, which is really nice, and that’s seen throughout the show.”
Bussey said the camaraderie displayed by the group is “genuine and true.”
“The bonds that we have in the show are the same bonds that we have outside of it too,” she said.
Furman said the touring allowed her and her fellow actors an inside look at “real theater.”
“You unpack, you do a show, you repack and that’s all in one day,” she said. “I really like it because you get to meet so many different people. We have this big diverse group of personalities in our territory.
“It’s really cool to meet kids at camp or senior citizens or just people at a corps or Kroc center and get to hear their stories when they come up and talk to you afterwards. I really enjoy that.”
Furman said while CAST has varying personalities, “you come to love all the people you work with.”
“It’s really incredible to see how this team grows and the fellowship grows,” she said. “I feel like I’ve known half of these people my entire life and I’ve only known them for like five weeks. It’s really cool.”
Livingston concurred, saying there’s “a real fellowship in CAST.”
“It becomes a community and a family and that’s been really important this summer, just rallying around each other and encouraging each other and rejoicing in that fellowship,” he said. “There’s no other place where I’ve experienced this kind of group.”
Record number of delegates at LEAD
The LEAD Leadership Summit saw 91 delegates gather this week at the University of New England during the Old Orchard Beach Camp Meetings.
“It’s the largest it’s ever been,” said LEAD Director Isaiah Allen. “It’s grown steadily over the last 10 years.”
LEAD is a weeklong program designed to build practical leadership skills and to foster healthy discipleship.
Some of the delegates gushed about what they were learning at LEAD.
Aljerene Edwards just started working in the Sunday school nursery at the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Dayton, Ohio.
“I wanted to come to learn more about becoming a better leader for Sunday school and my corps,” Edwards said.
She also took part in several evangelism outreach opportunities offered at LEAD.
“I’ve learned to go up to people and just talk to them about my life and try to incorporate my life with theirs and maybe bring them a little bit closer to God,” she said. “I’ve learned how to be a better Sunday school teacher and I’ve met great people and inspirational people here.”
Soldiers Mike and Lori Price, who also attend church at the Kroc center in Dayton, both came through The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) ministry and now want to give back.
“I’m here because the Salvation Army has saved my life and it’s my church now,” Mike said. “Anything I can do to become a leader, I want to do. God has put it on my heart. That’s how much I love The Salvation Army.
“What I’m getting out of LEAD is I need to do more on my part. I’ve learned some tools I can take back and not just sit in the same pew every Sunday and not get up and do the leadership things I should do as a soldier.”
Lori recently joined the corps council and came to LEAD looking for leadership tips.
“I want to play a bigger part in the church,” she said. “There are phenomenal teachers here with a lot to share.”
The Prices, who are in Maine for the first time, also wanted to come to the camp meetings to soak up Salvation Army culture. They took part in the March of Witness through the streets of OOB on Sunday.
“I want to be more involved in the church family that we love so much and the tradition of The Salvation Army,” she said. “Just being a part of that has been huge or us. We feel very much a part of the family.”
With a theme of “A Bigger Story,” each day at LEAD started with worship followed by small group meetings.
Allen said delegates shared the plot twists in their personal stories, along with the transformative events.
“That was a really meaningful time where we were able to share our testimonies with one another about the Lord’s gracious, powerful work,” Allen said. “We painted a picture of the before and after that this work of grace happened in our lives.
“Each person had something to share about how they were different than they were before.”
Events like LEAD can’t happen without behind-the-scenes heroes like Captains Jeffrey and Rebecca Kirk of the Bangor, Maine, Corps. The couple taught a VBS-style program to the children of the delegates.
“We’re focusing on making sure there is something structured and God-centered for the kids so the parents can stay focused,” Rebecca said.
There will be no camp meetings in the Pavilion tomorrow. “Pier Praise,” under the direction of Envoys Steve and Sharon Bussey, starts at 7 p.m. at the Pier and will feature several entertainers who have been there all week. A fireworks show is scheduled for 9:45.
Daily Bible studies will also continue tomorrow on the beach at 9 a.m. and in the OOB Corps at 10:30 a.m.
—By Robert Mitchell
Reaching the lost at the Pier
A huge fireworks show capped a night of evangelistic fervor at “Pier Praise” on Thursday, as some of the Salvation Army’s best entertainers spread the Gospel message to the crowds in Old Orchard Beach.
Envoys Steve and Sharon Bussey were in charge of “Pier Praise” again this year. Steve found special significance in the Barna Research Group naming nearby Portland, Maine, as the most post-Christian city in America last year.
“It’s considered the most unreached city in the entire United States and to think we have an opportunity to share the Gospel on this scale is true to the bones what it means to be a Salvationist,” Bussey said.
In fact, eight of the top 10 post-Christian cities in America are in the Eastern Territory and most are in New England, according to Barna.
“This group, by all logic, should not be listening to the Gospel,” Bussey said as he watched the throngs of people at the Pier. “Yet there are hundreds of people here tonight who are sitting and listening to the Gospel message again and again and again.”
The Pier Ministry is held each night from 7-10 and coincides roughly with the camp meetings at the Pavilion. However, on Thursday night each year, everything moves up to the Pier as an evangelistic outreach.
Among the performers this year were: the Creative Arts Service Team (CAST); Summer Brass; Crossfire Brass;DJ Morph, Rell, and the Army On Its Toes Dance Co.; Ramon Martinez, Mario Boskovic, and Andrea Satka of Bay Breaks Entertainment; percussionist Bob Jones; country singer-songwriter Damien Horne; BMX evangelist Joe West; illusionist Bryan Drake; aerialist Kathryn Higgins; Painting Freedom, an arts ministry; and Unbound, a Christian evangelistic rock group.
Joining Bussey during the night was Major Anne-Marie Dagenais, a Canadian officer who spoke French to the Canadian passersby.
Commissioner William A. Bamford III, territorial commander, and Lt. Colonel James LaBossiere, the territory’s program secretary, both offered prayers.
Bamford thanked God for the opportunity to share the Gospel message with a lost world.
“I pray for each person here and those who will be coming later this evening that what we share is about the love of Jesus and that if someone is struggling today, maybe with unhappiness in their life, if they are not feeling a sense of peace or joy, I pray that that might be a reason for them to see Jesus,” Bamford said.
Colonel Kenneth Johnson, chief secretary, later presented a gift to Joseph Thornton, who leads the Old Orchard Beach Town Council. Johnson reminded the crowd that this is the 130thinstallment of the Old Orchard Beach Camp Meetings.
“We are the ones who are blessed to have you choose Old Orchard to have this wonderful event every year and we hope that continues,” Thornton said.
Bussey, reflecting on the week of Pier Ministry in the town, said he and the team of volunteer evangelists saw several salvations. They also were able to pray with people, engage in Gospel-related conversations, and connect with thousands via Facebook and social media.
“We’ve had some wonderful results this week,” Bussey said. “These people are just hungry for the Gospel. The Pier Ministry is just giving them an outlet where they can meet Jesus.”
Bussey said as Sunday’s show came to an end, a young woman ran up to Diane Ury, the national ambassador for holiness who was volunteering at the Pier, and said, “I need Jesus.”
“We’re seeing Summer Brass getting out and praying with people,” Bussey said. “We’re seeing Salvationists getting bolder in their faith. It’s just an exciting time where we’re seeing God doing things within Salvationists for the unsaved.”
Salvation Army Steampunk
A passing thunderstorm kept the Pier Ministry from its Saturday night debut. Bussey saw it as an opportunity to showcase the elaborate stage and Pier performers on Sunday.
“Every year, we are always ready to pack up in case of any storms. They can show up within 10 minutes of a sunny day,” says Bussey. “This time, we took the opportunity as we were leaving to let people know that we would be back on Sunday.”
The theme of this year’s festival is “Come To Life,” based on the words of Jesus in the book of John: “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
The Pier stage took on a steampunk setting, complete with steam-powered machinery, smoke-filled lighted tubes, and scaffoldings elevated by pipes and rusty metal.
“Steampunk and The Salvation Army are in some ways, a natural fit for each other,” says Bussey. “They both trace their roots to 19thcentury Victorian England, and they both keep that 19thcentury tradition, but update it in modern ways.”
The 17-minute musical sermon “Deus Ex-Machina” (God Enters the Machine), takes inspiration from the stories of Pinochio, The Tin-man from The Wizard of Oz, and even the animated movie Inside Out.
“We wanted to tell a Gospel story from the inside, and show how the soul interacts with God. But instead of making it from the inside of a person, it all takes place inside of a robot,” says Bussey.
The main character of Deus Ex Machina is Steambot, and the story takes place inside the factory of his own soul. When Steambot makes a decision that defies his Master Creator, the robot’s factory core becomes corroded and impure. During a key scene in the performance the Creator is called to repair the factory, and a battery descends on to the main stage.
“Batteries are made of two elements: Iron and Lithium,” explains Bussey. “Together, the chemical symbol for Lithium (LI) and Iron (FE) spell out Life.”
“There is so much deeper meaning in everything we’ve included in this performance,” says Bussey. “We’ve created a parable for a post-Christian world.”
Making their Old Orchard Beach debuts this year were West, a former competitive BMX racer who today uses his bicycle as a platform to share the Gospel; and brothers Tucker and Tyler Rodkey from the Painting Freedom ministry. The duo uses their speed-painting talents to preach the word of God and share the love of art.
LEAD-ing them to Christ
Of the record 91 delegates at this year’s LEAD Leadership Summit, 26 took part in evangelism outreach and training in Portland and Old Orchard Beach during the week.
LEAD Director Isaiah Allen said eight people accepted Christ in one night in Portland.
“We’ve seen people come to know the Lord and pray with our evangelists, who are passionate and excited about training,” Allen said. “That’s not to mention the hundreds of conversations. We planted lots of seeds.”
Allen said during one encounter, LEAD evangelists engaged a pregnant woman in a Portland park. She had picked out several prospective names for her baby, all of which meant lion. When LEAD delegate Keith Lawson of the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Philadelphia handed her a bottled water, he showed her the lion tattoo on his arm.
“She said, ‘All I needed today was water and prayer.’ It was like God had sent us there,” Allen said.
Allen took out a team of evangelists each time, as did Majors Dennis and Sharon Young, Majors Bill and Sue Dunigan, and Major Joaquin Calvo.
LEAD delegates James and Kimberly Parker, who also attend the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Philadelphia, said they learned several evangelism tips at LEAD.
Kimberly said she and her husband were mixed up in drugs and a “hot mess” five years ago, but they’ve since found Christ. She learned at LEAD to use her testimony for God by opening her mouth and leaving the results to the Holy Spirit.
“I’ve learned a lot of evangelism techniques and I can’t wait to get back and use them,” she said. “It’s a privilege and honor to be here. It’s all God.”
James was invited to a men’s fellowship at the corps, where he met Major Dennis Young and he has been attending church there ever since. He said LEAD taught him how to start Gospel-related conversations with unbelievers.
“All I need is just to get a few minutes of their time and I can tell them my testimony and a little bit about the Bible,” he said. “I can show them how real God is and how He can change their life and how He can save them.”
James said the North Philadelphia area he ministers in can be “dangerous,” but he is undaunted.
“You know, with God on your side, I’m confident,” he said. “I’ve heard the Holy Spirit speaking to me since I’ve been here telling me, ‘This is your job.’ I’ve got to go back and try to save some lives. This is what I’m going to do. I’m excited about going back as well.
“I’ve learned so much. Everyone is just awesome here. It’s unbelievable. I’m just truly blessed to be here.”
The 130thOld Orchard Beach Camp Meetings end Friday with Christian singer Josh Wilson performing in the Pavilion at 7 p.m. He is known for songs such as “I Refuse,” “Dream Small,” and “Savior, Please.” The concert will be live-streamed at www.saconnects.org/live.
—by Robert Mitchell and Hugo Bravo.
Josh Wilson goes solo in the Pavilion
Claps of thunder could be heard in the distance, but the crowd inside the Pavilion on Friday night was more focused on the sounds coming from Christian singer-songwriter Josh Wilson.
“I’m honored that you would have me on your stage tonight,” Wilson said.
“I love meeting people after the show and kind of understanding a little bit more of their story. My message tonight is one of hope. It’s that Jesus saves. I’ve surrendered to Him and find my hope in Him.”
Wilson, who plays a host of musical instruments, performed the entire concert solo with only an acoustic guitar and piano. He had no band.
His setlist included “That Was Then, This Is Now,” “Pushing Back the Dark,” “Before the Morning,” “Shine On Us,” “Fall Apart,” “How Much More (Asher’s Song),” “Jesus Is Alive,” “Borrow,” “Amazing Grace,” and “I Refuse,” a song inspired by the 2010 floods in his home of Nashville, Tenn.
The concert also saw Wilson unveil two songs, “Okay” and “Surrender,” from his new album coming out in November.
Wilson also performed his new radio single “Dream Small,” a song he called “autobiographical” and dedicated to the “unsung heroes” who can change the world.
“This song is a reminder that the small things are just as important than the big things,” Wilson said. “It’s a song that says, ‘You know what? We’re all called to play a part.’”
Wilson, a pastor’s son who grew up in Texas, had never played in Old Orchard Beach before, but has performed concerts in nearby Portland.
“This is the first event I’ve ever played with The Salvation Army,” Wilson told SAconnectsbefore the show. “I’ve seen the bell-ringers and I’m excited to do this show and hear a bit more of the story.”
Wilson was aware of the “rich history” of the Old Orchard Beach Campgrounds, where Salvationists have gathered for their annual camp meetings for 130 years.
“I play a lot of different events,” Wilson said. “I often come into a place not knowing much about a particular place. I play 200 shows a year so it’s always fun for me to see the history of a place.
“What we do have in common is our hope and faith in Jesus. It’s always encouraging for me to come into a place and to have that as common ground. I’m then able to share the details of my life and how far God has brought me and learn the stories of the people here.”
Crossfire Brass provided music before the concert. “It’s not often I get to share the stage with a brass band,” Wilson quipped.
Colonel Paula Johnson, territorial secretary for women’s ministries, welcomed the crowd, which then sang “O Boundless Salvation.”
Commissioner William A. Bamford III, territorial commander, said the night’s rain would not put a damper on the evening. He also quoted Psalm 136.
“We have been coming to this spot for well over 100 years,” Bamford said. “God has continued, even this year, to bless all we have put together. We are a blessed people.”
The crowd was also treated to a highlight video of the week at OOB.
Envoys Steve and Sharon Bussey, who lead the Pier Ministry each year at the Old Orchard Beach Camp Meetings, honored many of the performers and volunteers on Friday at an ice cream social.
It was a time to fellowship and reflect on a busy week of sharing Christ with a world looking for answers. Among the sweet stories making the rounds:
Majors David and April McNeilly, French-speaking officers stationed in Toronto, Canada, volunteered at the Pier this year and worked in the prayer tent.
“It was an opportunity to talk about faith and Jesus,” David said. “I also wandered around and looked for opportunities to speak to people. I was able to connect with a number of different people, some of them French-speaking.”
David said many of the French Canadians he encountered were quite open about being “non-practicing Catholics.” He was able to plant many seeds.
“It was really neat to talk to them about their faith and Jesus,” he said.
April said she was able to share Christ to people of all faiths—and also found herself in the midst of spiritual warfare.
“It’s amazing how many people were willing to have us pray with them or pray over them, French, Catholics, and non-Catholics,” she said.
“Even last night, I had a long conversation with two devout Buddhists. We also talked very frankly about the differences. They don’t believe in a god. They look within themselves, where I was very open about Jesus. They permitted me to have a prayer of blessing in the name of Jesus over them. That’s one of the great joys and privileges here.”
April also connected with a psychic near the Pier and while the initial discussions were “lovely,” the woman “became increasingly closed to the idea of Jesus.”
“I could tell there was some significant spiritual battling going on there,” April said. “For us to be right in the middle of it, was a privilege and an honor. It’s intimidating. It’s deeply moving. It’s rewarding. It’s all of that mixed up.”
Captain Mike Laro, who led a 12-member evangelism team during the Pier Ministry, said his heart for the lost is “a reflection of what God has done in my life.”
“He’s done this awesome work of filling in blanks for me and helping me understand what true purpose is,” Laro said. “It’s so great that I haveto share. I wantto share it with other people.”
Laro, who is stationed at DHQ in Pittsburgh, said he understands the urgency of evangelizing in such a post-Christian area.
“We have the answer to the question so many people are seeking,” Laro said. “They’re trying to find answers through job status, social media, and money. They’re trying to find these answers other places, but keep coming up short. We have the answer and that’s why it’s so important to share the real truth of that fullness we need and that’s in the person of Jesus Christ.
“It’s a message that desperately needs to be heard here and it’s so important that we were out there doing that.
“We dealt with some rain during the week, but the team really responded and saw it not just as a challenge, but an opportunity, and they found opportunities to evangelize under cover as people were gathering to try to get out of the rain.”
Lieutenant Larry Fulmer, who organized the Facebook live broadcasts of this year’s Pier Ministry, said the Gospel message reached thousands of people on social media.
“The majority of our population is on Facebook so if you get other people sharing our videos, they’re going to get out to people in this area who need to hear the Gospel and that is urgent,” Fulmer said. “I think the most crucial thing about live-steaming is that we can get these videos to where the least amount of Christians are.”
While Fulmer was busy on Facebook, his wife, Lieutenant Ashley Fulmer, served on the evangelism team and got several opportunities to pray with vacationers on the Pier. The Fulmers are stationed in Altoona, Pa.
“A lot of people, even though they might not believe in Christ or have that relationship with Him, they always have that need for prayer or just a friendly person to share their burdens with,” Ashley said.
“It was great just to be there and to ask people what they needed prayer for and then to pray for them and eventually lead them to the Gospel.”
Tucker and Tyler Rodkeyof the Painting Freedom ministry used speed-painting at the Pier to gain listening ears to share the Gospel.
“Art is really just a magnet,” Tucker said. “It’s a magnet that opens up conversation. If you want to talk about, ‘What is truth?’ or ‘Why do we believe this?’ Art is just an easy way to lead into that conversation.
“Launching off that with the speed-painting, people were just really engaged in what was happening on stage and we utilized that to start talking about the truth of the Gospel. Truth is truth, no matter who you are, so people are desperate for that. Everyone wants to engage in truth so it was really great to talk about that. People were pretty receptive to it for the most part.”
Joe West, who shared the Gospel in between BMX tricks, said the Pier Ministry team he was a part of each night was amazing.
“It’s really cool to see so many different talents and giftings being put together in one event and just to see their cohesiveness,” West said. “The Salvation Army really does a great job of making it fluid and putting the event together.
“I’ve been called to evangelize and go out and share how God transformed my life. The bike tricks are just used for that platform to reach people who might not hang out and listen to it.”
Ramon Martinez, who performed at the Pier this week with Bay Breaks Entertainment, said you don’t have to be standing in front of the stages at the Pier to be blessed. The Gospel message also wafted into the surrounding restaurants and businesses—and people noticed.
“We got to hang out with some of the business and restaurant owners and really got to see how grateful they are for what The Salvation Army does,” Martinez said. “[The Pier Ministry] blesses not only the people who are there, but all the people who are working and doing what they do. It’s really cool when ministry is done this way.
“Not only is it a blessing to the people who are visiting, it’s a blessing to the city and the small businesses as well.”
See you next year!
Mark you calendars! The 2019 Old Orchard Beach Camp Meetings are scheduled for July 27-Aug. 2 and will feature General Brian Peddle and his wife, Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, along with the New York Staff Band.
—By Robert Mitchell