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‘Come and Rest’
Commissioner McMillan opens first night of camp meetings

Opening night of the Old Orchard Beach (OOB) Camp Meetings 2017 culminated a beautiful summer day, highlighted by clear skies, sunshine, a pleasant breeze, and perfect visibility from the sandy coastline to the Atlantic’s distant horizon.

Under the wings of the OOB’s Seaside Pavilion, the evening program commenced with a stirring rendition of “Let There Be Light” performed by the Canadian Staff Band. Immediately following the band was the worship ministry of Unbound, singing, “Here I Am To Worship.”

A packed audience echoed the words of the song as they lifted their hands to the Lord and their voices to the rafters.

Unbound continued its ministry, accompanied by the men and women of the Adult Rehabilitation Center’s (ARC) Chorus. The combined groups ministered to the congregation with a heartfelt rendition of “Glorious Day.”

Unbound’s final number, “Develop My Vision” set and sealed the moment for the ministry for the spoken word. They’re melodious music reached ears beyond the Pavilion as the sun went down on the surrounding neighborhood.

Major Sandra J. Jackson, divisional director of Women’s Ministries for the Northern New England Division, bathed the moment in solemn prayer.

Colonel Kenneth O. Johnson Jr., chief secretary, offered and enthusiastic and warmhearted welcome to everyone. He then led the congregation in singing “To God Be the Glory.”

Introducing special guests

To introduce the special guests to the audience, Commissioner William A. Bamford III, territorial commander, interviewed on stage Commissioner Susan McMillan, territorial commander of the Canada and Bermuda Territory and special guest speaker for the weekend. McMillan, a Salvation Army officer for 35 years, has served in Canada, Mexico, South America, and at International Headquarters (IHQ) in London England.

McMillan is a Canadian–born officer. Her appointments have spanned corps officer, social services, hospital administration, finance, and administration.

Bamford then interviewed Lt. Colonels Allan R. and Fiona Hofer. They’ve served in Portugal and Brazil. Since April of this year, Allan has served as the territorial secretary and Fiona as the assistant territorial secretary for Spiritual Life Development in the USA Southern Territory. They are the OOB Chapel Bible Study leaders.

Finally, Bamford introduced the Beach Bible Study leaders, Captains Keith and Pamela Maynor, Eastern Territory officers currently serving at National Headquarters (NHQ) since 2014. As the National Youth Secretary, Captain Keith coordinates the National Young Adult Initiative and the National Advisory Board’s Strategic Plan. Captain Pamela serves as editor of Young Salvationist magazine.

Bamford’s questions and the leaders’ answers revealed some of the particulars that make them Salvationists after God’s own heart. They represented the kind of people who have sustained OOB Camp Meetings for 129 years.

The Eastern Territorial Songsters (ETS) continued the spirit of worship by singing a moving interpretation of “Shine Down.”

The Territorial Arts Ministries (TAM) team held the attention of the audience as they performed a spoken word presentation entitled, “Out of the darkness…”

The Canadian Staff Band returned with Erin Morgan, solo dancer, and performed and electrifying version of “Illuminate.”

Commissioner McMillan speaks

Commissioner McMillan’s message, entitled “Come and Rest,” was based on Matthew 11:25-30 where Jesus said, “… you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burdens are light.” McMillan left the audience knowing that Jesus’ rest is much more satisfying that any they might experience on the sands of Old Orchard Beach.

“If you are tired, worn out, frustrated, and need a rest, you will not find it by laying on the beach for a few days,” she said. “When it’s over, you’ll go home and things will go back to the way they were. You’ll be saying before long, ‘Wow, that vacation wore off fast!’ Jesus wants you to get to know Him so that you will experience real and lasting rest—and a life that is fulfilling and full of His grace.”

She reminded the audience that Jesus came to seek and to save the lost—and anyone lost can be saved. “In this year of the Protestant Reformation’s 500 anniversary, we must remember that Martin Luther fought to make the Bible available to everyone, not just to scholars,” she said.

“What does it mean, ‘my yoke is easy?’ she asked rhetorically. “It is a yoke that is especially made for you. Jesus will make sure that whatever comes your way, it will be manageable. We will be yoked together with Jesus.”

During the altar call, McMillan asked someone in the audience to stand and represent everyone before God in prayer. Instead, multiple voices were heard praying.

At the Pier

When crowds at the Old Orchard Beach Pier began to gather for routine rehearsals and sound checks, Envoy Steven Bussey knew that this year was shaping up to be something special.

“Last year, we were told that we had the biggest crowds in Old Orchard Beach history,” said Bussey, “Even with occasional rain and storms. This year, the weather forecast is even better, so we’re expecting another great turnout.”

Along with a new backdrop and a higher stage, the Pier ministry will include acts that will make their Old Orchard Beach debut, said Bussey.

“Bay Breaks Entertainment is a group of break-dancers and Hip Hop B-boys who have performed in places like Disneyworld and Universal. They’ve heard of what The Salvation Army does in Old Orchard Beach, and wanted to be a part of it,” Bussey said.

“We’re also building a very big spectacle with the Summer Brass Band,” said Bussey. The band rehearsed in the background as he spoke. Along with video testimonies, the band prepared to perform medleys with music from Star Wars and Michael Jackson.

“Just from the reactions we’ve received during rehearsals, there’s great anticipation in the air. God is ready to once again bring out the best from our artists.”

One of those artists, Edgar Garcia, A.K.A. Black Rhythm, is a beat boxer from the Salvation Army’s San Juan Corps in Puerto Rico. He will perform for the second year at Old Orchard Beach.

“This year, I’m much more familiar with the Pier, the crowds, and the sound system. I know what I need to do to be a more effective performer.”

He also sees how the Old Orchard Beach Pier ministry has created new fans of the art of beat boxing. Earlier this week, while playing basketball in a nearby park, Garcia recalled running into some local teens from Maine. They had met Garcia last year during his OOB debut, began following him on social media, and had come back to Old Orchard Beach to see him perform again.

“It’s a real blessing to have that lasting impact on someone,” said Garcia.

Sunday’s much anticipated 10 a.m. service will feature a message from Commissioner McMillan, led by Commissioner William Bamford, and accompanied by the ETS, CSB, ARC Chorus, and UnBound.

Warren L. Maye and Hugo Bravo contributed to this story

 

A ‘mountain top’ experience

On Sunday morning, a cool breeze and bright sunshine welcomed Salvationists and their friends and family to the Old Orchard Beach Seaside Pavilion. Vans, cars, and buses arrived early to disembark a congregation made up of people from around the USA Eastern Territory and Canada.

The melodic music of the Eastern Territorial Songsters (ETS), accompanied by the dynamic Canadian Staff Band (CSB) made it easy for everyone to settle into seats and prepare their hearts and minds to receive God’s word.

The Army on its Toes dancers offered an elegant and dramatic call to worship. The graceful movements of two women ballerinas captured the imagination of the audience. The mesmerizing music of “Solo deo Gloria,” played by the CSB was all that was needed to bring reverence to God.

Leading the meeting was Commissioner William A. Bamford III, territorial commander. He said, “It’s great to be in Old Orchard Beach once again. We welcome you in worship.” More people arrived. Soon the overflow gathered in the back and stood on a gravel surface just outside the Pavilion wings.

Commissioner Bamford acknowledge the presence of retired Commissioners Carol and Todd Bassett and Commissioner Nancy Moretz. He then led the congregation in singing a rousing welcome song entitled, “Stand Up and Bless the Lord.”

Lt. Colonel Kathleen J. Steele, ARC Command secretary for program, offered a heartfelt prayer. “Challenge us Lord, today. Refresh us, and renew us,” she prayed.

Via video, Anthony Davis of the Newark, N.J. Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) shared his revealing testimony. Once confident and determined to avoid the mistakes of his father, Davis soon found himself trapped in the same drug addiction that had plagued his dad. But one day, Anthony walked into the Salvation Army’s Newark ARC, enrolled in the program, and his life changed forever. Today as a uniformed Salvationist, he is deepening his spiritual life and bringing a message of hope to people such as himself. “You don’t have to live like this, he assures them, “there is a better way.”

UNBOUND and the ARC Chorus ministered to the crowd with, “This Amazing Grace.” Men and women of the Chorus, dressed in red T-shirts, lined the platform. In full, powerful voices, they moved the audience to cheer and to praise God.

UNBOUND then slowed the pace a bit with a relaxing rendition of “Blessed Assurance.” With guitar in hand, Kevin Berry led the audience in singing this peaceful arrangement.

On the next song, Berry went upbeat with country­–styled interpretation of “The Joy of the Lord.” The ETS then worshiped gently with “A Place for Healing Grace.” Their soft harmony was a balm to the soul.

Bandmaster John Lam shared his testimony of how as a “unremarkable man” he experienced the remarkable grace of God in the aftermath of the sudden and devastating loss of his wife.

Last year, cancer took Jane’s life after just 20 years of matrimony. “I judge my marriage on the quality of her life, rather than on its longevity,” he said. Today, I’m not angry, but grateful for the time I had with her. She brought healing to others during her time of suffering. My son and I grapple with our new reality. Life, light, and love is our healing fountain.”

Lam concluded, “It’s my turn to suffer and I accept that. I’ve learned that, by God’s grace, I’m healed.”

The CSB followed Lam’s testimony with the solemn rendition of “An My Soul Overflow!”

Bryan Cook from Aliquippa, Pa., read from Hebrews 12:18-29 “Our God is a consuming power.”

Commissioner Susan McMillan, special guest, prayed in English, but then spoke in fluent Spanish. “I want to let our Latino and Hispanic friends know that they are welcome and loved.”

“We are at the beach, but I want you to come to ‘The Mountain,’” McMillan said. After sharing many references from the Bible where mountain top experiences are cited, she quoted Micah 4:2 and said, “going to the mountain of the Lord means for us to be in the presence of the Lord. His love and grace always covers us. The mountain represents power. We can climb the mountain of God’s power.”

“If you feel weak and ineffective, you can come up to the mountain and find release,” she said. “Go to the mountain of God’s purpose. Take God’s message of salvation to the world. It is up to us. That’s the plan. That’s it. Salvation is found in Christ.”

During a time of reflection, McMillan called seekers to the altar. “He is the Savior of us all,” she said.

Commissioner William Bamford conducted an emotional call to officership. “I can’t help but believe there is someone here who feels called to officership,” he said. “I know, because I am one of them.” He asked, with voice breaking, “Is there anyone?” Several people responded and stepped to the platform. Bamford said to them, “Bless you, my friends.”

Colonels Janice and Steve Howard, communications secretary and personnel secretary respectively, closed the meeting in song and in prayer.

An afternoon of ministry

The afternoon was full of amazing ministry at the march and at the Pier. This year, The Salvation Army Motorcycle Ministry Brigade joined the Parade of Witness. Lt. Colonel James LaBossiere, program secretary, and Major Richard Sanchez, territorial Men’s Fellowship secretary, secured the permit needed to allow the bikes to be included in the parade. Major David C. Dunham, a corps officer and avid biker, said, “Next year, I hope we can go into the main stage area and do some one-on-one evangelism, while the Spirit is hot!”

After a successful first night at the Pier, Envoy Sharon Bussey was happy to see that hours of rehearsals and sound checks paid off, as every performer was in top notch form.

“There are always glitches to work out technically and backstage, but the dancers and musicians have done great on their first night,” said Bussey. She was also proud of the Salvationists who had shared recorded testimonies as a backdrop between live stage events. These short videos, ranging from only a few words to longer personal stories, were played between performances. The Pier audience learned how many of the people performing on stage had found Christ.

“Personal experiences like these are powerful,” said Bussey. “They are something that can be shared on the stage, or even on the streets of Old Orchard Beach.”

The Summer Brass Band’s second night at the Pier concluded with a tribute to the music of “Star Wars.” The performance included actors dressed as Jedi Masters. They dueled with Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers.

“We saw this as a new way to engage the audience,” said Brindley Venables, leader of the Summer Brass Band. “We got a great reaction last night with our Disney Tribute, and we know that ‘Star Wars’ will be just as popular.”

As Venables predicted, the “Star Wars” medley drew one of the largest audiences of the night, with people stopping after the performance to take pictures with the Jedis and Darth Vader.

D.J. Morph and Rell, a D.J. and Christian rapper from South Florida, are participating the Pier ministry for the second year in a row.

“Even though it may be the same set-up, and we rehearse the same routines, we need to remember that, with every performance, with every set, with every song, we are reaching out to new ears, new minds, and new souls,” said D.J. Morph.

“What the Salvation Army does here is simply amazing,” says Rell. “Christian hip hop is sometimes seen as something of the outside world by some churches. But the Army embraces what we do. They want to see us share the stage with their own performers.”

“What Rell and I do are tools for the Gospel,” says D.J. Morph. “When you can use your talents, while being true to the Word of God, you reach people that might never even walk into a church. You speak their language, you create the art they relate to, and you bring Jesus to them.”

Sunday evening service

Leading the Sunday evening service was Commissioner G. Lorraine Bamford, territorial president of Women’s Ministries. Before she introduced the speaker, Lt. Colonel Allan R. Hofer, Commissioner Bamford welcomed the audience back to the Pavilion for another time of worship, praise and meditation on the word of God.

Bamford also recognized Cheryl Paulopoulos for her 15 years of service as Pavilion director.

A “mobilized Army selection” was performed by the Territorial Arts Ministry (TAM) and Army on its Toes entitled “Christ’s Love Compels Us.” Hip Hop music with vintage video clips of the Army mobilizing in its early days served as an audio/visual backdrop to the dancers. “Rally Up!” was the repeated call to action by a rap artist on screen. The Whole World Mobilizing flag appeared frequently in the video presentation.

“Rally Up!” said Lt. Colonel James LaBossiere, who reminded the audience that at this time last year, General André Cox stood on the platform at OOB and challenged every Salvationist to leave the comfort of their citadels and move into their surrounding neighborhoods. LaBossiere reported that, since then, Salvationists in the territory have indeed been engaged in strengthening relationships with neighbors. From the Mobile S’mores units, to Mobile Joes ministry, a variety of creative and effective strategies are being implemented.

Captain Mike Harper and ministry assistant Dan LaBossiere of the Manchester, N.H., Corps came on stage and shared how their homeless outreach initiative Mobile Joes got started, and how it works. “The homeless people say they feel they are the invisible people,” said Captain Harper. “Something that hits me,” said LaBossiere, “are the young people who are out there on the streets. I’m motivated to reach out to these people and bring them around.”

The CSB played “Be Glorified” in an upbeat, contemporary arrangement, then segued into a traditional arrangement of the same song with beauty and grace.

Lt. Colonel Fiona Hofer continued the spirit of the song, bringing it back to its traditional moorings and asking the congregation to sing two more verses, before reading John the Baptist’s words “The Kingdom of God is near. Repent, and receive the Good News.”

The ETS then sang “I’ll Follow Thee” in a calming, soothing, interpretation.

Lt. Colonel Alan Hofer, speaker for the evening, said he was greatly impressed by the ministry he saw at the Pier. He was particularly moved by the enthusiasm he sensed in Envoy Steve Bussey, co-organizer of the activities. “Ten minutes with Steve Bussey at the Pier and my heart was on fire!” Hofer said.

Hofer used multiple Bible quotations and references to current events and recent atrocities against Christians to illustrate the urgency for Christians to engage in the spiritual battle and to follow Christ. He reminded everyone that, although Jesus came to us as a baby in swaddling clothes, He emerged as a man determined to bring change to the world. “Jesus warned His disciples that the work would be difficult and dangerous,” Hofer said.

He concluded by saying “He calls us to love all people in His name. He makes no promise that you’ll be free from problems, or receive any earthly recognition. But He promises that He will be with you in times of suffering. He looks at you and He says, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ If you will remain faithful, He promises you will receive the crown of victory!”

Sunday Gallery

A marvelous Monday at OOB

Activities at Old Orchard Beach got off to a great start today with the fourth annual “Freedom 5K Run/Walk.” The nearly 100 participants were an eclectic mix of adults, teens, and children. They suited up, laced their sneakers, and gathered in front of the Old Orchard Beach High School. They used their feet to call attention to victims of human trafficking around the world and particularly in Maine.

Proceeds from the event will benefit local anti–human trafficking programs, predominantly the Compassionate Ministries of the Portland Salvation Army, and The Well, a daytime drop–in center for some of the most vulnerable women. The program provides one–on–one support, assistance in court, and social programs such as coffee nights and arts and crafts to help the women.

Soldier Jennifer Clark, the Portland Salvation Army’s Anti-Human Trafficking Ministries coordinator, helped register the runners and walkers. “Thanks to same-day registration, we’ve had a good number of people who just heard about the event sign up. A few have even had individual sponsors for the run,” said Clark.

A Salvation Army canteen was at the high school to provide water and refreshments for the participants.

Since its inception, the Freedom 5k has raised as much as $50,000 for the cause. WMTW–TV Channel News 8’s anchor Tracy Sabol was on hand to thank the many sponsors and Salvation Army leaders who helped make the event possible. After Commissioner G. Lorraine Bamford, territorial president for Women’s Ministries, prayed, someone announced, “Three! Two! One! —Abolition!” and the race was on.

‘Put Your House in Order’

Lt. Colonel Hofer’s Bible Study

Lt. Colonel Allan R. Hofer, Territorial Secretary for the Salvation Army’s USA Southern Territory led the morning Bible study at the Old Orchard Beach Corps. The theme of his session, “Put Your House in Order” was a call for all Christians to invest in future generations, and to start in their own homes, teaching their children about the goodness of God.

“In the Book of Kings, you learn that Hezekiah’s son Manasseh grew up to be the worst king of Israel,” Hofer said. “This was because Hezekiah disobeyed God’s request to put his own house in order.”

“Even today,” Hofer said, “we see examples of houses not being put in order, and the negative effects it has on countries.

“Holland lost all of its church members in just one generation,” said Hofer.

This was the first time that Hofer and his wife, Lt. Colonel Fiona Hofer, attended the Old Orchard Beach ministries. As a musician himself, Hofer was extremely impressed with the evangelistic messages made by each performer at the Pier.

“Outdoor ministry makes my heart burn with passion,” says Hofer. “It’s phenomenal to see each performer—from the Canadian Staff Band to UNBOUND—speaking the Gospel.”

He also had a chance to meet Envoy Steven Bussey. Hofer came away touched by Bussey’s vision for the Pier ministry.

“I’m a big fan of the Army’s history, and I see the spirit of those early, innovative Salvationists live on in Steve and Sharon Bussey,” Hofer said.

A moment to minister

Pier outreach breaks barriers

When D.J. Morph heard that the Army was interested in having break dancers take the stage at Old Orchard Beach, he contacted Bay Breaks Entertainment, a Christian performing arts and entertainment company based in Tampa, Florida.

Ramon Martinez, co-founder of Bay Breaks Entertainment, got in touch with Envoy Steve Bussey. A licensed pastor himself, Martinez knew of The Salvation Army’s work in the community.

“Bay Breaks Entertainment and The Salvation Army are both passionate about saving souls,” says Martinez.

The performers from Bay Breaks had witnessed a soul connection with the art of breakdancing, even before they took the stage at OOB.

On Friday, Captain Keith Davis, corps officer of the Rockland, Maine Corps, took Bay Breaks dancers Andrea Satka and Mario Boskovic to Brunswick, Maine to hear live music.

“We did a few moves as the music played, and after we were done, a woman approached us with tears in her eyes,” said Satka. “She said that her brother, who had passed away two years ago, was also a break dancer.”

The woman introduced Satka, Boskovic, and Captain Davis to her father, who had been watching the dancers, and crying himself.

“He thanked us for keeping alive the dance that his son practiced. Seeing us perform it brought back memories of him,” said Satka.

Showcasing their talent, and having someone from The Salvation Army with them, brought about a special moment of ministry. Captain Davis invited the man and his daughter to Old Orchard Beach to see the dancers perform again.

“It was such a humbling, unexpected way to welcome us to the Old Orchard Beach ministry,” says Boskovic. “There is no other explanation. Only God can do that. He wanted us to be here with The Salvation Army in Maine, and to touch those lives.”

Taking the LEAD

At the University of New England, LEAD, an indoor event, was continuing its weeklong program designed to strengthen local leaders in the territory. The process of personal formation, taking place in small groups, is allowing participants an opportunity to learn practical skills and strategies for being more effective leaders.

In concert

Canadian Staff Band at the Pavilion

The evening service featured a spectacular and inspiring concert by the Canadian Staff Band (CSB), conducted by Bandmaster John Lam. A thought–provoking devotional was also delivered by Lt. Colonel Jamie Braund, the CSB’s executive officer since 2016. Lt. Colonel Braund currently serves as the secretary for Personnel at Territorial Headquarters in Toronto.

As the band entered the Pavilion, applause began and grew into cheers.

Lam, who was appointed in 2008 as the fifth bandmaster of the CSB, is a passionate music educator. The head of performing arts at Glendale High School in Tillsonburg, Ontario, Lam also enjoys teaching at Salvation Army music camps.

Leading the meeting was Lt. Colonel James LaBossiere, territorial program secretary and executive officer for the New York Staff Band. At the outset, LaBossiere welcomed everyone to the Seaside Pavilion. “It’s a beautiful night!” he said. “We’ve been mobilized throughout this year and during these camp meetings.  We continue to worship tonight,” he said.

The CSB played “Bless My Soul,” a stirring intrada, that immediately captured the audience’s attentiveness and held it throughout the evening.

“The Canadian” a march, caused the audience to stand in honor of the nation of Canada.

LaBossiere offered a heartfelt prayer and acknowledged the presence of territorial leaders in the audience and special guests and visitors.

He called Bandmaster Lam the “Band Pastor” in recognition of his ministry to the members of the band, which goes beyond simply conducting music.

The music continued with a cornet solo “Beyond All Measure” written and performed by Marcus Venables. Enthusiastic applause followed.

“Canadian Folk Song Suite” by Morley Calvert was next.

A Euphonium solo “Able” written by Nick Simmons-Smith and performed by Steve Pavey delighted the audience.

A festival piece entitled “Life of Worship” and written by Andrew Wainwright, was appreciated by the congregation.

Just before intermission, Commissioner William Bamford thanked Commissioner Susan McMillan for her messages delivered during the camp meetings and told her that a special seat, marked by a yellow bow, would be reserved for her anytime she felt moved to return to OOB.

Following intermission, a chorus arrangement, “Shine!” by Barrie Gott, brought smiles to many faces in the audience.

Another festival arrangement, “Light Song,” by Kenneth Smith, demonstrated the versatility of the CSB.

A euphonium duet entitled “Solid Rock” by Jonathan Rowsell and performed by soloists Steve Pavey and Cemeron Rawlins, inspired everyone.

The final festival piece “Undaunted” by William Pitts, and a trombone feature, “In His Time,” set the stage for Lt. Colonel Jamie Braund’s thoughtful devotional.

“We have a living God in whom we can put our hope and trust,” he said. “Everyday, God is transforming lives. I have the assurance He is a God who loves us.”

Braund shared a story of about a woman on a plane who saw his Salvation Army uniform and asked, “Does God have a plan for my life?”

“We are surrounded by a world of people who are desperate to hear about our God who could possibly make things beautiful in their lives too,” reminded Braund.

The rousing festival finale, “Overture: Coronation by Kevin Norbury ended an inspiring evening of music.

Bandmaster Derek Lance of the New York Staff Band, thanked his Canadian counterpart and friend, Bandmaster John Lam and the CSB for their rich musical contribution. “They are the friendliest bunch of guys,” said Lance. Before praying, Lance led the congregation in singing, “In My Life Be Glorified.”

Tomorrow, camp meetings will continue at the 9 a.m. Beach Bible Study at the end of Union Avenue. The Corps Bible Study begins at 10:30 a.m. The Pier ministry, led by Envoys Sharon and Steve Bussey and a Family Fun night at the Pavilion led by Majors Jodi and Philip Lloyd starts at 7 p.m. The Summer Brass and Hands On teams will also be there.

Hugo Bravo and Warren L. Maye contributed to this story

Monday Gallery

Families enjoy the fun at the Pavilion

The fun and games got started a little early on Tuesday night at the Old Orchard Beach Camp Meetings.

The camp meetings in the Pavilion routinely begin at 7 p.m., but not on this night. Things got started 90 minutes early with children and their parents enjoying a climbing wall, pony rides, balloon animals, a petting zoo, a bounce house, face painting, and more.

Summer Brass played throughout the Pavilion grounds, where Salvationists have gathered for their annual camp meetings since 1885.

Carol Jaudes, director of the Creative Arts Services Bureau, urged everyone to come into the Pavilion shortly before 7 p.m.

“You’re not going to want to miss this!” she said.

The truncated program in the raucous Pavilion featured more from Summer Brass, a children’s chorus, a T-shirt launch, Sunday school choruses, a skit featuring costumed Salvationist characters, and video testimonies from Hands On teams.

Christian entertainers David and Teesha Laflin of Denver, Colo., entertained the crowd with several illusions, some of which included their four children and most with a Gospel message.

David Laflin said the family uses illusions to point to something that is not an illusion.

“This is not a trick—God loves you and has an amazing plan for your life,” he said before leading the audience in a prayer for salvation.

Captain Pamela Maynor, the editor of Young Salvationist magazine, closed the meeting with a short challenge to her mostly young audience.

“Does our big God speak in big ways?” Maynor asked.

Using the story of Elijah from 1 Kings 19, Maynor said God was not in the wind, an earthquake, or fire, but chose to speak through a “gentle whisper.”

“When God speaks to you, it’s a message to you,” she said. “My God speaks in big ways and He’s ready to speak to you tonight.”

Maynor and her husband, Keith, are leading a beach Bible study at the camp meetings this month (see details below.)

The evening ended with parents enjoying refreshments in a tent adjacent to the Pavilion.

Now his shoes don’t fit

Some of the USA East’s Hands On teams helped out with the night’s festivities.

Josh Pelletier, 20, a junior at Asbury College, went to Kenya with a Hands On short-term mission team and said his life hasn’t been the same since.

“When I left, I feel like I left a pair of shoes here that my life fit in,” Pelletier told SAConnects. “Now, coming back, I’ve outgrown those shoes. It’s a rough transition trying to come back to life here.”

Pelletier’s team visited three different corps in the Kenya East Territory, three slums, and three villages. The team also helped with the “Others” program and visited production sites.

“We did a lot of home visitations,” he said. “We learned to make the baskets and how much work they put into that.

“They grow their own plants to make the rope. They also grow their own plants to crush it up and make the dye to color the baskets.”

Pelletier said the trip also taught him about contentment.

“It was really hard to wake up every day and go see people who live with much less than we have [in the United States], but they’re satisfied and they’re happy,” he said.

“The faith they have, knowing that the Lord will provide for what they need, and that hey don’t need any more than that, was life-changing for me.”

Pelletier’s parents are stationed at the College for Officer Training in Suffern, N.Y., and he attends the Times Square Corps in New York City.

He is studying media communications at Asbury and hopes to someday direct films that tell the stories of the people he experienced in Kenya.

Other Hands On mission teams went to South America and Puerto Rico & Virgin Islands. There also was a Homeland team that stayed in the United States.

We’re far from done

The camp meetings continue tomorrow with CAST’s performance of “A Wrinkle in Time” at 7 p.m. in the Pavilion.

Daily Bible studies will also continue with a beach study led by the Maynors, who have gathered this week at the end of Union Ave. at 9 a.m. to teach God’s Word among the sounds of splashing waves. Lt. Colonels Allan and Fiona Hofer are leading a Bible study in the OOB Corps at 10:30 a.m.

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

Tuesday Gallery

‘A Wrinkle in Time’ lights up Pavilion

CAST’s Hannah Furman and Scott Martel played key roles in Wednesday night’s presentation of “A Wrinkle in Time”—and both saw more than a few spiritual parallels.

“The main theme, at the end, talks about how love is more powerful than we expect it to be,” said Furman, who plays Mrs. Which. “Love is what ultimately saves the day.”

The 50–minute, one–act play is based on the Madeleine L’Engle classic children’s book.

It’s the story of Meg Murry, a 13-year-old girl transported on an adventure through time and space to rescue her father, who is being held captive on another planet by evil forces.

Furman said the love Meg has for her brother and family shines through.

“It’s about love for other people and in the midst of confusion and being lost, it’s just sometimes really hard to hear God talking to you,” she said. “It’s important to keep love and the other valuable things He teaches us in His Word in mind. Have courage, take a stand and fight for Him, and fight for others.”

Martel plays Calvin O’Keefe, a schoolmate of Meg’s who goes along for the journey.

“One of the main themes that’s tackled in this play is there’s only one person who can reach the person who has kind of gone off the deep end,” Martel said. “Similarly, in our lives, who is that only we can reach?

“Who is that we have the right words or the right relationship to introduce them to the love of Christ?”

This year’s CAST (Creative Arts Services Team) features Furman, Martel, Skyela Bussey, Alexis Duperree, Laura Hevenor, Bethany Kelly, Ryan Livingston, Oracia Morris, Marissa Riley, Robert Stewart, and Caleb Woodward.

The production team included Megan Gould, script; Tom Long, director; Kathryn Higgins, choreography; Joseph Skinner, music; Major Hollie Ruthberg, costumes; Peter Vaughn and the THQ Property staff, set props; Ian Evans, company manager; Sarah George, stage manager; and Ryan Livingston, set artwork.

Evans interviewed some of the CAST members before the performance.

Carol Jaudes, director of the Creative Arts Services Bureau, called CAST a “beautiful ministry” and thanked territorial leaders for supporting the young people.

“You are giving them a chance to thrive and give their gifts,” Jaudes said.

Different paths, same stage

Martel and Furman came to CAST from far different paths.

Martel’s parents struggled with alcohol abuse and he was raised by his grandparents. He had no church life as a child.

“My early life involved a lot of turmoil,” he said. “I didn’t have much direction in life. Going into college, I just got involved with the wrong people.”

Martel was failing college and had no where to live when a Christian family in Pennsylvania took him in. They also took him to church and, being an artistic type, Martel fell in love with the music played by an evangelistic family visiting for two weeks.

“I really connected to the music. I had never heard Christian music before,” he said.

Martel went forward during the second week and said the sinner’s prayer, delighting the crowd at church that night.

“Just knowing that God’s Holy Spirit was working through me at that moment was just beautiful,” he said.

Martel soon heard from his father, who has 13 other children, some of whom Martel had never met.

“It was God that put that together,” he said.

Martel’s life really changed when he visited the food pantry at the Middletown, N.Y., Corps. When someone mentioned a Bible study, Martel was interested and started attending. He later joined a Friday night youth program and was eventually hired as the ministry assistant at the corps, a post he held for four years.

“Working at the corps and getting to know my family was my life,” he said.

Martel recently completed a 10-month stint with the Glory Shop, a school for creative arts and discipleship, based at the Times Square Corps in New York City.

Meanwhile, Furman got plenty of church growing up as the daughter of Majors Bill and Inger Furman, who are stationed at the College for Officer Training in Suffern, N.Y.

A student at Asbury College, Furman was in CAST for last year’s performance of “Moses” and will attend her fifth Territorial Arts Ministry (TAM) Conservatory this summer.

Furman said TAM is a great place to improve in the creative arts, but the spirituality that permeates the event is even more important.

“That’s something I’m very grateful for because I think TAM is probably the place where I have most strengthened my relationship with Christ,” she said.

Furman, who is studying social work in college, said she enjoys teaching kids to use their skills in the creative arts to glorify God.

“I think it’s really a process of learning how to offer your talents back and just be thankful for the talents God has given you,” she said.

God’s spirit washes over beach Bible study

Captains Keith and Pamela Maynor have never taught a Bible study on the beach and it’s clear they were enjoying their first opportunity at this year’s camp meetings.

A large group gathered at 9 a.m. each day at the end of Union Avenue. Lounging in beach chairs and shielding themselves from the bright sun with umbrellas, the beachgoers sat with open Bibles and read through sunglasses as the Maynors shared from the book of James.

“Sitting around this circle and hearing the waves, it’s like a sensory experience of God’s spirit just washing over us,” Pamela Maynor said. “It’s so refreshing. We’re outdoors! People are so engaged and talking. It’s been amazing. It’s such a relaxed environment.

“You’re dependent on the Word. You’re not dependent on the PowerPoint or the program, you’re dependent on the Word of God, and you’ve just got to let that speak.”

Keith Maynor said he loved the outgoing witness of the Bible study.

“I love that this is an amazing way to confess Jesus in a public space,” he said. “People are hearing us pray. People are hearing us speak the Word.

“We’re not in a building. There’s no door. There’s no window that people could look in and it’s almost like they’re in here with us.

We pray that some people from the fringes may wander in, but they can hear our voice and God willing they’re going to hear Jesus Christ too.”

The Bible study covered James 1-5, a chapter a day. The Bible study for James 3 on Wednesday ended with the group holding matches and thinking of ways their tongue could be used as a fire to uplift others.

“Put in us a burning flame to encourage your people,” Pamela Maynor said in closing.

See ya at the Pier for fireworks!

There will no camp meetings in the Pavilion tomorrow. “Pier Praise” starts at 7 p.m. at the Pier and will feature several performers who have been there all week.

Daily Bible studies will also continue on the beach at 9 a.m. and in the OOB Corps at 10:30 a.m.

—By Robert Mitchell

Wednesday Gallery

 

Spectacular fireworks close Pier Praise ‘17

A spectacular fireworks show concluded Pier Praise ’17 on Thursday night at the Old Orchard Beach Camp Meetings.

Many of the same artists who performed at the Pier from 7-10 p.m. all week took part in the event, which was held in lieu of the regular nightly meeting in the Pavilion.

Commissioner William Bamford III, territorial commander, welcomed a huge and enthusiastic crowd and urged everyone to visit the nearby prayer tents if they had a need.

“We are from The Salvation Army and we want to let you know we’ve been here all week and we’ve come to share that we love Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ loves you,” the commissioner said.

This year’s Pier Praise, as well as the nightly Pier ministry, was again organized by Envoys Steven and Sharon Bussey of The Salvation Factory.

Steven Bussey gave out several free gifts to the crowd, reminding everyone of the free gift of salvation provided by Jesus.

“There are people here tonight who have searched the limits and found Jesus Christ as the answer they’ve been looking for,” he said.

“Sometimes we receive gifts we don’t deserve. Jesus gave us salvation, which we didn’t deserve.”

Among the performers were DJ Morph, Rell, Army on its Toes, Brownsville Steel Drum Orchestra, “Juggler for Jesus” David Cain, Bay Breaks Entertainment, Ramon Martinez, MC + Gospel Shot, Gospel illusionist Bryan Drake, illusionist Eli Morgan, and beatboxer Black Rhythm.

Kathryn Higgins performed an aerialist routine, while Lt. Colonel Carole Voisey stunned the crowd with her sand art, which was broadcast on a large screen.

There also was a puppet show by the Creative Arts Services Team (CAST) and a performance by Summer Brass.

Unbound and Crossfire Brass also performed before the fireworks at 9:45 p.m.

There also were plenty of personal testimonies, including one from Bethany Kelly, who performed with the Creative Arts Services Teams (CAST) this year.

“All throughout my life, people have told me that I was not enough,” she said. “I was not pretty enough, not talented enough, not skinny enough, not good enough. But when I found Christ, He gave me the freedom to be who I am.”

Kelly said she came to learn from Ephesians 2 that she was a “masterpiece … created anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

“I want you all to know that tonight too,” she said.

Drawing them with honey

Whenever Steven Bussey would address the crowd, standing beside him was French-speaking Major Pierre Croteau.

Croteau, who hails from the Christian Community Center of Rosemont in Montreal, Canada, was able to capture the attention of many of the vacationing French Canadians who frequent the Pier.

“As far back as I can remember, Old Orchard Beach was a place where French Canadians like to vacation,” Croteau said during a break. “I remember when I was a teenager, I used to come here.”

Croteau noted that Canada is only a few hours drive from OOB and his French messages had many people stopping to listen when they heard their native tongue from the platform.

“You don’t attract a bee with vinegar,” Croteau said. “You need honey. So, if you speak French to the French community, which I know very well, they’re attracted to that.

“So many French people came up to me to manifest their appreciation toward The Salvation Army for having something in French here.”

Croteau said the heart to reach his native Canadians comes from one place.

“We do it for the Lord,” he said. “When someone gets saved, the angels are rejoicing and so are we.”

The Salvation Army’s Evangelism Boot Camp

Some of the local lay leaders attending LEAD at the University of New England this week took part in an Evangelism Boot Camp, where they learned the fine art of relationship evangelism.

The boot campers could be seen wandering the Pier area each night to put into practice what they learned in the classroom during the day from Majors Bill and Sue Dunigan.

“We have 20 people from the LEAD Boot Camp who come here to the Pier every night,” Major Sue Dunigan said amid the festive atmosphere. “They’re learning about making contacts and how to build relationships. They’ve been making lots of contacts up here at the Pier.”

Dressed in blue jackets, the teams gave out conversation starters and even talked to merchants.

“I’ve gotten a chance to meet a lot of the vendors,” Dunigan said. “Many of our Boot Camp participants have had meaningful conversations with folks and gotten to pray with people. A few people have actually had the opportunity to lead people to Christ.”

Dianne Browning of the Bay Ridge Corps in Brooklyn, N.Y., prayed with people and picked up some best practices.

“I do a little bit of this in Bay Ridge,” she said. “I have a table with foreign language tracts and Bibles and we give out cold water. So I thought maybe I would come here and get some pointers to add to what we do. I got some great ideas.”

Alberta and Alonzo Delgado of the Troy, N.Y., Corps said they also picked up some useful tips. The idea of developing relationships stuck with them.

“I don’t really know my neighbors by name, but now I’m going to take back what I learned and go and introduce myself by name and get to know them by name,” Alberta Delgado said.

One of the more outgoing Boot Camp participants was Deana Rivers of the Philadelphia Kroc Center. A statistician at DHW, Rivers was one of five people from the corps who made the trip to LEAD this year.

“Evangelism blesses us as much as it blesses the people that we have an opportunity to meet with,” Rivers said.

“Our approach to evangelism is a little different because we’re more interested in listening than talking. We have found that everyone has a story and taking a few minutes to listen to them often gives them hope that they’re not expecting. We’ve also been praying on-spot with people.”

Rivers, who mingled freely in the huge crowd at the Pier, kindly asked people if she could pray with them and the overwhelming majority said yes.

“Nine of out of 10 people had something they wanted prayer for,” she said. “We don’t have to get in the nitty-gritty details of it, but just opening the door, we know that God knows their story and we take it from there.”

Rivers said her love for God gives her the heart of an evangelist.

“It’s all God,” she said. “When I look at my gifts and my personality, this is what He designed me to do. This is my calling.

“I’m always ready to talk. God said, ‘If you want to talk so much, I’m going to give you something to talk about!’”

Rivers said the Philadelphia Kroc Center has used General Andre Cox’s “The Whole World Mobilizing” campaign to jumpstart ministry.

“We’re praising God for growing us and using us to help grow others,” she said. “We are so into the ‘Mobilizing’ campaign. This is who we are. This is what we do and we’re glad to do it.”

It’s almost closing time

The camp meetings wrap up tomorrow with a concert by Christian singer Mark Schultz at 7 p.m. in the Pavilion. It’s sure to include some old hymns of the church. Schultz’s latest album was simply called “HYMNS.”

Daily Bible studies that have been going on all week will wrap up on Friday. A beach Bible study meets at 9 a.m. at the end of Union Avenue and another in the OOB Corps at 10:30 a.m.

 

—By Robert Mitchell

Thursday Gallery

Worth the wait

Mark Schultz closes camp meetings

A traffic accident delayed Christian singer Mark Schultz’s concert for about 45 minutes on Friday, but he closed the Old Orchard Beach Camp Meetings with an entertaining concert in the Pavilion.

“We just went 11 miles in two and a half hours,” Schultz said upon taking the stage. “That’s how excited I am to be here.”

Schultz did his sound check on the spot and opened with “I Am.” Schultz has said he felt God in the room as he wrote the lyrics.

Among the other songs on Schultz’s setlist were “Before You Call Me Home,” “God of Glory,” “10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord),” “Back In His Arms Again,” “Running Just to Catch Myself,” “Letters From War,” “Lift Up Your Hands When You Can’t,” “Remember Me,” “Love Has Come,” and “I Am The Answer,” the first song he ever wrote.

Schultz’s most recent album was called simply “Hymns” and he played “How Great Thou Art” on acoustic guitar and sang one stanza acapella with the crowd singing along.

Schultz, who was adopted when he was two months old, is an adoption advocate and showed photos of his two biological sons and a daughter adopted from China. He told the audience he often wondered how his parents could adopt.

“They love a God who [adopted] them first,” he said.

Colonel Janice Howard welcomed everyone shortly after 7 p.m. and announced that Schultz was stuck in traffic and would be late.

“The good news is this—we are going to refund all of you the full price of your ticket,” Howard joked about the free concert.

The time was filled with several selections from Crossfire Brass, including “How Great Thou Art.” The audience also sang “Crown Him With Many Crowns.”

Two videos were shown, including one featuring the territory’s new #2020 vision. The other showed the highlights of the camp meeting, including the Bible study in the OOB Corps each day.

Commissioner William Bamford III, territorial commander, gave Lt. Colonels Allan and Fiona Hofer, who led the corps Bible study, a small gift to help them remember Old Orchard Beach.

Touching hearts at the Pier

Envoys Steve and Sharon Bussey organized the Pier Ministry again this year and honored many of the volunteers on Friday at an ice cream social.

“We’ve had great weather this year and some really incredible stories of conversion that could only be from God,” Envoy Steven Bussey said.

Among the sweet stories making the rounds at the social:

Major Stewart Dalrymple, Finance Secretary, New Jersey DHQ:
“I met a man who lives right here in Old Orchard Beach. He does carpentry work and he’s lived a really hard life. He knows the Lord and really wants to get connected to a church and so I talked to him about The Salvation Army. He’s been at the Pier every night. Last night I was able to introduce him to Major Bryan Smith, who is the corps officer. We’re hoping to make that connection. A lot of the people we see are from all over, but this guy is local and I’m hopeful that he’s going to be coming to the corps.”

Major Daniel Alverio, corps officer at Cleveland Temple Corps:
“We had a young man come in yesterday who works at the Pier. He’s from China and he was looking at one of the books we had with some interest. Just listening to what was going on, he got some interest in what we were talking about and an interest in God and wanted to know a little bit more about it. We presented him with a Life Book and a little bit about the book of John and he took a couple of tracts and a bookmark and wanted to tell me he’s really interested in God. I was able to pray with him. In his country, he’s not really able to worship God freely. He can’t even get to know about God without fear. So we were able to talk about that and share. Just the little bit of time he had on break, he wanted to spend it there hearing a little bit more about the Gospel.”

Major Christa Dalrymple, Program Secretary, New Jersey DHQ.
A mother and daughter visited one of the prayer tents at the Pier and also had their picture taken. Dalrymple fears they might have been human trafficking victims.

“I gave them their picture and we explained about Jesus and I said, ‘Is there anything that I can pray with you for?’ And all of a sudden, the two of them basically broke down in tears, grabbed me around the waist, and just sobbed into my chest probably for a good 20 minutes. I was really able to minister to them.”

The women were dealing with extreme family issues and felt God couldn’t love them.

“I was able to share with them that no matter what we’ve done, no matter how far we’ve gone, God forgives us and loves us and we can be restored into a good relationship with Him,” Dalrymple said. “They continued to cry and I was able to pray with them and pray over them and they just held me forever. For me, I just felt like I could love them even though I didn’t know them. It was pretty amazing.

“I think for all of us, those kinds of moments stretch us a little bit more than we’re used to. It was a beautiful opportunity for me and such a privilege to get to pray with these people.”

Dalrymple said Colonel Eleanor Shepherd of the Montreal Citadel Corps and others in the Pier ministry also made contact with a family suffering the death of a loved one, who was recently hit and killed by a train.

Shepherd heard about the tragedy on the news and had been praying for the family even before they miraculously ended up visiting the prayer tents at the Pier.

“We saw them four or five times and got a chance to tell them that God loves them,” Dalrymple said. “We just know God is going to do something in their lives. It’s just a blessing that we’ve been able to minister to them. Our goal is just to be instruments of God.”

Captain Keith Davis, corps officer, Rockland, Maine.
Davis took two members of Bay Breaks Entertainment out to meet some local dancers and promote the Pier Ministry.

“After we were done and getting read to leave, I saw there was a fight about ready to break out. The fight got broken up, but some of them accidently thought I was their Uber ride. I said, ‘Guys, I’m not your Uber.’ Me, being nice, I said, ‘Well, where do you have to go?’ I ended up taking them to get food and then I took them home. They had been drinking, so I didn’t think they would remember me or who I was whatsoever, but I told them who I was and what I was doing and what we were doing down at the Pier. The next thing I know, two of them came down here last night. They watched the whole show, they went to the prayer tent, and got prayed with. It was a cool little encounter that I didn’t think was going to happen, but it did. I went from accidental Uber to praying with two of the folks!”

Major Lauren Effer of the Salvation Army in Quebec.
“We really had some awesome opportunities with the kids and families. We would play little games with the kids and talk to the families. We would say, ‘Do you have a Bible in the house? Is it OK if we offer your kids Bibles?’”

A summer with Summer Brass

For Abigail Irwin, playing the alto horn in Summer Brass is about so much more than making beautiful music.

“Music is one of the best devotional acts for me,” Irwin said. “Every time I play in a group, I have to listen to what’s around me and be in harmony with them. It reminds me that I need to balance that out with what God wants me to do in my life.

“He should be at the center of what I’m doing. Every chord, He’s the center of that chord. He’s the melody and I’m harmonizing to it.”

Irwin, a student at Asbury College and the daughter of Majors David and Jessica Irwin, who are stationed in Milford, Mass., said Summer Brass Director Brindley Venables has been a “great spiritual leader.”

“He’s pushed all of the players out of their comfort zones,” she said. “He’s had all of us do a testimony this year in one way or another.”

Summer Brass has traveled around the territory for six weeks teaching and performing.

“This has been the best opportunity for ministry in the most unique way,” she said.

At one camp Summer Brass visited, Irwin organized a skit relating to Christ and the love languages. The boy she chose to play Jesus asked, “Who is Jesus?”

The questions the boy asked stretched Irwin and her colleagues, but in the end, the boy played the part perfectly.

“He gave His heart to Christ that week and it was amazing,” she said. “That was a really special moment that I never expected to have. It made me realize I need to keep my eyes open for the kids who still haven’t heard about Jesus.”

That’s a wrap!

The 2018 Old Orchard Camp Meetings are scheduled for July 28-Aug. 3 and will feature Commissioners Clive and Marianne Adams, along with the Household Troops Band from Scotland.

—By Robert Mitchell

 

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