Oh my, it has been nine months since I began serving as your Chief Operating and Development Officer. I am humbled by the call and honored to be used in this capacity. Many thanks for the confidence of the Presiding Elder, Rev. Clifton McDowell, the Board of Directors, and the National Association of the Church of God General Assembly for trusting me with this assignment. Growing up, my family often had sing-a-longs in our kitchen. One of our favorites was, I’ll follow, I’ll follow, I’ll follow Jesus all the way. This song has once again held significance in my life. I planned to move west; never did I imagine going east. Yet, here I am, learning new things, being stretched, challenged, and changed, and loving every moment. I’ll follow Jesus here I’ll never never fear!
I must acknowledge Dr. Charles (Chuck) Myricks for his continued support and encouragement. We appreciate his many years of service and his ongoing availability at a moment’s notice. He served well and faithfully!
Our theme for this campmeeting is Homecoming on the Hill. I have spent many years attending campmeeting on Zion’s Hill. I was grateful to be able to carve out time to come to this place of refuge and to refresh. Over the years, I have been blessed to be used at different times to serve; however, there was always more I wanted to do. I didn’t understand then, but as I look back, I see the hand of God planting this seed in my spirit. Often, I would say to the leadership, “I want to help in any way you can use me.” I never imagined employment or this role, and my finite thinking was that of a volunteer. When I drove on these hills in November, snow covering the grounds, no one in sight but the deer grazing on the horizon, I knew I was home.
I was blessed to serve for nineteen years in my past assignment. God allowed me to acquire skills, become a strategic thinker, dare to dream beyond boundaries set, and build relationships. Yet, I always knew my roots were on Zion’s Hill. The saints on the hill in West Middlesex, PA, loved me and launched me. I have now come full circle. I have completed the task and am now blessed to return to my beginnings. I have been allowed to finish where I began; our God is awesome!
Since my arrival, I have been privileged to have one-on-one conversations with many of you. One prevailing thought from those conversations is the desire to see the grounds become a state-of-the-art facility with the ability to house hotels, athletic events, and a community development complex. All these things are within our reach if this is our desire. I believe the Joshua Generation and those coming behind will achieve those goals and more. Nehemiah understood his assignment, and he did not deviate. Nehemiah said to the king in Chapter 2, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.” Nehemiah also understood he could not do it alone; he enlisted the help of others. I must know my assignment, and I must realize my calling. I am called for this season to work alongside the leadership to return the grounds to a place of readiness, shore up our infrastructure and help expand our ministry capabilities.
While my assignment may not carry us into the future, I am grateful for the opportunity to do my part with you to prepare us for the future. I await with great anticipation, standing on tippy toes to see what I know is coming. The future of The National Association is pregnant with possibilities. She has withstood the test of time and is poised to influence and impact in and beyond the Shenango Valley to this nation. We are better together as the body of Christ, not working independently of one another. I firmly believe that God is setting his members each in place according to His will.
Friends, I spent October, November, and December asking questions and surveying the grounds. We launched the campground campaign, Preserve the Promise – Protect the Legacy, not a “wish list” but a “must-do list.” Our campground felt the global impact of the pandemic. Many of our public facilities were in ruins, and they were uninhabitable. During this time, buildings were inspected to see if we were adhering to fire and safety regulations. Unfortunately, in many areas, we were not compliant. Thousands of dollars have been spent, and more are needed to complete this task. Without attention to the areas cited, the campground could not be opened. God has been faithful to us and shown us favor. Many of our suppliers and contractors have become ministry supporters in this undertaking.
The good news – we have made progress. We are planning our first in-person campmeeting since 2019 which will be August 7-14, 2022. We are on target to reopen because of the generous donations and the many hands from local congregations who have come from near and far. We are still asking you to consider joining us in this campaign; it is not too late. I ask for your patience and understanding if everything is not as you had hoped.
Our Praise Report
- Fire and safety requirements will be complete by campmeeting
- Restroom renovations throughout the campground
- Handicap accessible restrooms
- Renovated Administration Building
- New temporary Housing for Medical Center and Homeowners
- The partial pavement of the roads
- Painting and refreshing our public facilities
- Unsafe houses have been torn down
Currently, we are without a Grounds Manager; this position will be posted soon. As your CODO, I ask for your prayers. I am presently functioning in both roles with the aid of committed men of God. I am forever grateful for the many hours given to NACOG by Bro Charles Mitchell, Mr. Bernard King, Bro Jeff Barnes, and Bro Bennie Gibbs. They have been faithful servants. Pastor Reginald Alford and Bro Allen Stevens have traveled on numerous occasions with others to assist wherever there was a need. “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 7
We are blessed to have staff additions to the team and wholeheartedly celebrate the many years of service given to NACOG by those who have taken on new assignments. Rev. Rhema Irvine has been a welcomed addition as Office Administrator, Lady Precious Earley serves as our Marketing and Newsletter Coordinator, and Rev Tatum Osbourne continues in her role as Communications Coordinator. These women are my “dream team.” Stop where you are and take a moment to give thanks for their service.
While we continue to make plans to return to this in-person gathering, varying levels of comfort are important to each delegate. It is significant to note that there will also be several different experiences from what folks are used to. Please be patient with us as we design safety measures and protocols that are important for everyone’s safety. We strive to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
We will observe COVID protocols for our in-person meetings:
- Limit attendance in the tabernacle to 500 persons
- Social distance recommended
- Wash hands frequently
- Masks must be worn in the tabernacle – please comply
- Sanitizing stations at every entrance
- Tabernacle sanitation measures taken after each worship service
- Individual microphone covers for program participants
- Restrooms refreshed every hour
- If you are not well, consider others, stay home
Terrell Dining Hall Protocols
- Hand sanitizers, gloves, and masks available at cashier’s desk upon entry
- Mask must be worn at buffet stations
- No talking recommended while standing in buffet lines
- Gloves must be worn while handling utensils
- A clean plate must be used upon each serving
See you on Zion’s Hill; I look forward to greeting each one of you and welcoming you home!
Serving with JOY,