More than 12,000 people attended the Joint Camp Meeting of the Greater New York and Northeastern conferences at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, on June 29. It was the first time these two conferences opted to forgo camp meeting at their usual locations and unite in one location. The event marked the midpoint of the NY13 Revelation of Hope evangelistic meetings that have been in progress in the metro New York area since April.
“This assembly is inspired by the desire of both conferences in New York City to work in unison in the proclamation of the Adventist Message,” Daniel Honoré, Northeastern Conference president and chairman of the Joint Camp Meeting Planning Committee, said. “Today’s gathering transports us back to the days of old when God called the children of Israel to holy convocations. It also carries us forward to the day foretold by John, when the redeemed of the Lord will stand before His throne in a great multitude which no man can number.”
Showing support for this historic event were representatives from every level of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “We say a special thanks to our leaders from the higher organizations and to pastors/evangelists from around the world for their contribution to the advancement of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our territory. We also thank our local pastors, church workers, and our faithful members for their sacrifices, commitment, and dedicated service. Only heaven will reveal the extent of your labor,” G. Earl Knight, Greater New York Conference president and co-chair of the Joint Camp Meeting Planning Committee, said.
Ted Wilson, Seventh-day Adventist Church president, who had just completed a three-week series of meetings at the Manhattan church, presented the morning’s message. He reflected on the early beginnings of the church and encouraged members to continue the work “until Jesus comes.”
About 150 individuals were baptized following the worship service. Presidents Ted Wilson, Donald King, and Daniel Honoré were among the pastors who took part in the baptism. So far, more than 2,000 people have been added to the church in both fields, and more are expected as the meetings in metro New York continue.
Dan Jackson, North American Division president, brought greetings on behalf of the 1.1 million Adventists in North America. “The eyes of our division are on New York City because, in a literal way, we believe if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” Jackson said. “We are not just watching New York City, we are praising God with you.”
Adventists from all over the Atlantic Union territory were a part of this spiritual gathering. “We have come together to meet with God, to express our sincere fellowship in the Lord Jesus as Savior and King, and to participate in the building up of His kingdom,” Donald King, Atlantic Union president and NY13 Steering Committee chair, said.
Public officials attending the event recognized the Seventh-day Adventist Church for its positive impact in the community. Attending were Mayor Wayne J. Hall, Sr., of Hempstead, New York; Bill de Blasio, who holds the citywide office of New York City Public Advocate; and Una S. T. Clarke, a former New York City Council member and mother of U.S. Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. Addressing the worshipers, de Blasio said, “Thank you on behalf of New York City. You, every day, make us a better and stronger city.”
In the afternoon, Adventist youth and young adults participated in two compassion projects. They partnered with Soles4Souls, collecting shoes for later distribution to those in need, and they visited two rehabilitation centers to distribute roses with Bible promises attached and to pray with and for each patient and staff member.
A team of medical missionaries conducted a health fair, providing water, literature, information on healthy food alternatives, massages, health screenings, and more.
“I think NY13 is the beginning of something that ought to continue. One of the things that I find exciting about the group of pastors that I’m working with is that the camaraderie is real. I have also found when churches work together, members become more excited about the project, because unity of leadership leads to unity of membership.” said Cameron Bowen, pastor of the Elim and Mt. Moriah churches. He brought two candidates for baptism and also participated in the baptismal ceremony.
The day concluded with a testimony and praise concert highlighting the work God is doing in the lives of the people in the city. Included among the day’s musical guests were the Altino Brothers Chorale, Charles Haugabrooks, Strings of Harmony, the South American Division Kings Herald Quartet, along with several local choirs, and musical artists.
Mark Finley, assistant to the General Conference president, presented the vesper meditation. “God never accomplished anything through doubt!” Finley said. “God wants you to be actively involved in His service. Don’t allow your fears to paralyze you. Step out in faith in Christ.”
The event was broadcast live on Hope Channel and Three Angels Broadcasting Network and streamed live on Atlantic Union Adventist Media (AUAM) and Praizevision. Online viewers watched from such places as Australia, Brazil, Ghana, Texas, Georgia, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, the Philippines, Washington state, and more. Viewers were also engaged using the NY13, Atlantic Union Adventist Media, Atlantic Union Conference, and Greater New York Conference Facebook pages.
Audra and Roland Mark, members of the Southeastern Conference from Boynton Beach, Florida, who were traveling to Massachusetts for a meeting at the Atlantic Union Conference office, heard about the camp meeting and decided they wanted to be part of the event. They summed it all up, saying, “Our hearts were filled with joy as we watched the historic coming together of the Greater New York Conference and the Northeastern Conference. The auditorium radiated with praise and thanksgiving. The spiritual energy that we experienced lifted our hearts and gave us a foretaste of what heaven will be like. The speakers, the music, the baptism, and the general atmosphere were unlike anything that we had ever experienced. Congratulations to the Atlantic Union, the leadership of the Greater New York Conference, and the leadership of the Northeastern Conference.”
The NY13 Revelation of Hope evangelistic meetings are continuing in metro New York through the end of October. “Let us hold fast to the hope we profess, with the full assurance of faith, that we may encourage one another, young and old, in love, as we see the day of His Second Advent approaching,” said Donald King.
Ednor A. P. Davison is the editor of the Atlantic Union Gleaner and assistant to the president for communication in the Atlantic Union Conference.