‘Sonrise’ at OOB
People in record numbers hear the Gospel at Old Orchard Beach Camp Meetings 2016
Salvationists attending the 134th Old Orchard Beach (OOB) Camp Meetings literally marched into the history books. Record numbers of vacationers and Salvationists gathered at the Pier to see a “March of Witness” that included the New York Staff Band (NYSB) and newly appointed leaders of the USA Eastern Territory. Every evening at this venue, the most spectacular Army meetings ever held there captured the imagination of onlookers.
At the Seaside Pavilion, General André Cox and Commissioner Silvia Cox, world president of Women’s Ministries, led an intimate but packed meeting. Opening night was historic, featuring the installation of Commissioners William A. and G. Lorraine Bamford as leaders of the USA Eastern Territory. Commissioner William Bamford III now serves as territorial commander and Commissioner G. Lorraine Bamford as the president of Women’s Ministries.
Following the Bamfords’ installation, the General also recognized Colonel Kenneth O. Johnson, Jr., as the new chief secretary and Colonel Paula Johnson, as the secretary for Women’s Ministries.
Among the capacity crowd were many Salvationists and beneficiaries of the Adult Rehabilitation Centers.
The New York Staff Band, the Eastern Territorial Songsters, the ARC Chorus, and the Massed Chorus set a worshipful tone. The General delivered a thoughtful and sobering message, challenging Salvationists to appreciate their history, to contemplate their future, but to fully engage in the present, facing the problems of today’s world with a soldier’s spirit.
During the meetings, the territory paid a musical tribute to Ronald Waiksnoris, New York Staff Band bandmaster and territorial music secretary, who will retire this year. The NYSB and the Eastern Territorial Songsters performed a concert in his honor. Via a video presentation, Waiksnoris and the entire audience saw his 41–year career flash before their eyes in pictures, narration, and heartfelt greetings from Salvation Army leaders, composers, bandmasters, and friends from around the world.
Commissioner Bamford remembers ‘the call.’
Leading his first Old Orchard Beach camp meeting as commander of the USA Eastern Territory, Commissioner William A. Bamford III reflected on his call to officership, which he received 33 years ago at the Pavilion.
“It was right here where I stood when God called me,” Bamford said on the stage.
“I happened to walk in with my wife through the back of this place. God then called us to full–time ministry. Why we were here that night in 1983, I have no idea. God knew, though, and here I stand today.”
Bamford, with arms wide, looked past the spotlights and into the audience and said, “This evening is about being obedient.”
Warren L. Maye, Robert Mitchell, and Hugo Bravo contributed to this story. Photography by Ryan Love.