Teays Valley Church of God members attend a gathering of nations
A global gathering convened in Anderson, Ind., on the beautiful Anderson University campus, June 22-25. Seventy-two total delegates were officially named from the 68 different countries/territories in which the Church of God has a presence.
Those of us who have traveled abroad know that difficulties and complications can arise at the most unexpected times and for reasons not understood. Some had difficulty due to visa issues.
A good delegation attended from the Teays Valley Church of God, led by pastor, Dr. Melissa Pratt, her husband the Rev. Thom Pratt, their daughter, Hannah and son, Josh. Others attending were youth pastor, the Rev. Jonathan and Carrie Secrest and children. Also Minister of Worship Arts Mandy Bohm, her husband, Gary, and their three children. Among lay leaders was Ruby McCormick, veteran state and national women's leader.
Kitty and I attended the first world conference in Fritztlar, Germany, 1955, leaving on the M.S. Italia three weeks after our wedding, landing in LeHavre, France. Few are still able to travel who attended that first world convention.
On Monday, June 24, the worship leader was Mandy Bohm who, with a high level of competency, fills that role at the Teays Valley Church of God and in other venues in our nation. Speaker for this service was Andrei Kolegov of Chelyabinsk, Russia, featured vocalist was Alson Ebanks of the Cayman Islands. Platform guests included Carlton George (Grenada), Herman Kisasila (Tanzania), Joy Mallouh (Lebanon), Obrad Nikolic (Serbia) and Agustin Sanchez (Mexico).
A highlight for me was when Mandy and her father, the Rev. Larry Mobley, thrilled the large audience with their singing of "Down from His Glory," indelibly etched in my mind by the duets of Dr. W. Dale Oldham and his son, the internationally known gospel song stylist and recording artist, Doug Oldham, featured in Clyde Dupin Crusades in our county. Mandy's family gave her tremendous support for this international service.
Pastor Kolegov stated, "We must know Christ before we can introduce others to Him." He also said, "You are called to be a walking and talking evangelist" and to "let the joy flow from your heart." Sylvia Rooke of New Zealand articulated the congregational prayer.
After Kitty and I attended our first world conference in 1955, we have been involved in others back in Germany, in both Essen and Wiesbaden; Nairobi, Kenya; Seoul, Korea and Anderson, Ind., in 1980.
Coming together in meetings of this kind helps us understand something of the tremendous work being done in other countries where missionaries traveled from the United States. Some of those early ventures had connections with Putnam County, but that is another story.
I have been involved in seven world conferences and often with leadership responsibilities. It was a blessing for Kitty and me to renew friendships with people in whose homes and churches we had visited in years past. The old gospel song states it well, "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love." Genuine friendships are priceless gifts.
Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist who can be reached at P.O. Box 345, Scott Depot, WV 25560; phone 304-757-6089.