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National Association of the Church of God
Thursday, July 07 2022

Dear Friends,

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,

Rev. Arnetta

Posted by: Rev. Dr. Arnetta McNeese-Bailey AT 05:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, July 07 2022

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.5 Then the word of the LORD came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.” Jeremiah 18:1-6

 

Lessons and Thoughts to Ponder and Remember

 

In the above scripture, the Potter refers to our Wonderful God, but who is the clay? In that day it was Israel, today it is You and I, it’s the Church, but you could just as well say it’s our congregation or our Christian families. Remember WHO you are!


 

• Stay on the Wheel. There are times we want to jump off the potter’s wheel because we get tired of being in the process; we want to be the finished vessel without going through the pain and discomfort.  Sometimes we want to be where we see others are or think they are not knowing how they got there. They might not even be where they appear to be.  We see what appears to be glory without knowing the story. Remember WHERE you are!

 

The Wheel is Symbolic of the circumstances and situations that life brings our way.

 

Life can often seem like a large circle, one trial after another. Sometimes like the clay we don’t like the shaping process and may fight back a bit, resisting and wobbling in what we know to be true (scripture) But we must remember that the Potter controls the speed of the wheel and it only rotates according to His will (like the old fashion sewing machines). Never forget that God is still in control, regardless of what we face and He knows how much we can bear.

 

• Remember You Are Still In His Hands: While the clay spins around on the wheels, it is never out of contact with the Potter’s hands. He is in constant control, molding and shaping the clay through his skill and guidance. If he removed His hand, the clay would spin right off the wheel and would be lost. Remember WHOSE you are.

 

• The Potter Controls The Oven: The temperature of the potter’s oven must be hot enough to burn the impurities out of the clay and creates a new bonded substance. Too much heat too fast and it cracks and falls apart. Sometimes the clay thinks it cannot take any more heat but the Potter knows how high and how long the clay must be in the oven to accomplish the finished design.

 

Let me conclude with the Story of the Vase

 

A grandfather and a grandmother were in a gift shop looking for something to give their granddaughter for her birthday. Suddenly the grandmother spots a beautiful vase, “Look at this lovely piece of work”, she says to her husband. He picks it up and says you are right; this is one of the loveliest vases I have ever seen.

 

At that point, something remarkable happened. Something that could only happen in a children’s book. The vase says to the grandparents. “Thank you for the compliment, but I wasn’t always beautiful.” Instead of being surprised that the vase can talk, the grandfather asks it, what do you mean when you say you weren’t always beautiful? Well, says the vase, “once I was just an ugly soggy lump of clay. But one day some man with dirty wet hands threw me on a wheel.

 

Then he started turning me around and around until I got so dizzy I couldn’t see straight. Stop..Stop I cried. But the man with the wet hands said, Not Yet! Then he started to poke me and punch me until I hurt all over, Stop..Stop I cried, but the man said “Not Yet”. Each time I thought he was through, he would crumble and roll me up and begin to poke and punch me again. Finally, he did stop. But then he did something much worse, he put me into a furnace. It got hotter and hotter until I couldn’t stand it. Stop..Stop.. I cried. But the man said, “Not Yet”.

 

Finally, when I thought I was going to burn up, the man took me out of the furnace. Then some short lady began to paint me, and the fumes got so bad that they made me feel sick. “Stop…Stop..” I cried. “Not Yet” said the lady. Finally, she did stop, but then she gave me back to the man and he put me back into that awful furnace. This time it was hotter than before. “Stop…Stop” I cried, but the man said “Not Yet”.

 

Finally, he took me out of the furnace and let me cool. When I was completely cool, a pretty lady put me on this shelf, next to this mirror. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I was amazed; I could not believe what I saw. I was no longer ugly, soggy, and dirty; I was beautiful, firm, and clean. I cried for joy. It was then I realized that all the pain was worthwhile. Without it I would still be an ugly, soggy lump of wet clay. It was then that all the pain took on new meaning for me. It had passed, but the beauty it brought has remained.

 

What a tremendous and encouraging illustration, which I hope will help guide and guard us under the pressures and challenges which come into all of our lives from within and outside the Church.

 

Remember the Potter has a purpose in mind, and He has the skill and ability to fulfill it, no matter what obstacles or challenges come our way. We are living in very challenging times of pandemics, mass shootings, resurgence of blatant acts of racism, and deeply rooted polarization. NACOG, we must always remember that our first allegiance is to the will and ways of our Lord. So, in each season of our lives as individuals, families, congregations, and as part of the Church of God Movement; 

 

Let us yield to the Lord’s wise Will and Ways

Let us stand up for biblical righteousness, holiness, and unity

Let us rest in the Lord as He shapes and reshapes us to align us according to His Word

Let us resist leaning to our own understanding and preferences

Let us in all our ways acknowledge the sovereign will of the Lord over us

Let us remember we are the Lord’s Servants Under Construction

Let us be thankful the Potter is able to repurpose and reshape marred clay

Let us Trust Him, Obey Him and Watch Him Work out all things to our good and His glory
 

Shalom and Blessings

Presiding Elder, Rev. Clifton McDowell

Posted by: Pastor Clifton McDowell AT 05:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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