The annual General Assembly of The Church of God convened in a new location this year from August 7th through 12th. Meadowview Conference Center in Kingsport was host to the more than 1,250 delegates. The city of Kingsport welcomed everyone with a $2,000 donation to the church.
International Youth Camp was held at Johnston Woods in Cleveland prior to the start of the Assembly. Victory Leaders Band Coordinator Josh Farthing directed the camp which included state and national overseers and their families when possible, honored campers from youth camps.
General Overseer Oscar Pimentel banged the gavel for the official opening of the General Assembly on Tuesday evening, August 7, announcing the theme, “Let The Church Be the Church.” The pledges to the church flag and to the Bible were given, and Janet Talley of Cleveland, led the congregation in singing. Robert F. Strong Sr., overseer of North Carolina, preached the first message of the assembly, “They Prayed – God’s Guidance.”
During each session of the weeklong meeting, delegates heard to the reports from the states and countries in “Like a Mighty Army Moves The Church of God.” On Wednesday evening, James R. Horne of Alabama led the Church of Prophecy Marker Association program; and on Thursday morning, the Bible Training Institute choir sang as part of the program directed by Ray Dupre, general director.
The traditional Parade of Nations was held on Thursday evening in the World Mission Program directed by Robert J. Hawkins, Jr. of Cleveland, General Coordinator.
The General Overseer’s annual address was given on Friday morning. Brother Pimentel reported new members, 1,433 with 784 local churches (23 new), 253 missions operating and 96 new field works entered. He reviewed the criteria for the selection of workers in the church, as he talked about doing the work of the Church to the glory of God. He introduced the idea of feasibility of a permanent place for the Assembly and urged the church to pray for divine direction.
In promoting evangelism, he stressed the need to go into cities. “The early church went into cities,” he said, “and it was said they “turned the world upside down.” He added, “Only faith in God will move the church to action and prayer will bring faith.”
“Marketing and plans alone,” he continued, “will not get it done – not artificial baits, but power of the Holy Ghost.” For the task, he said, compassion is needed – there must be a vision.
The Evangelism program was directed by E. Roger Ammons of Cleveland, on Friday afternoon. The annual healing message was given by Jason Hill of Cleveland, for the Friday night service as hundreds went through the healing lines with many testimonies of healing.
Saturday’s sessions included the Ordination Service, the Assembly Band Movement directed by Allene Cox, Cleveland, and the Women’s Missionary Band Program directed by Sharon Griffin, Indiana, featuring the Ladies Choir. The animated Victory Leaders March filled the auditorium on Saturday evening with young people praising God and singing as the VLB program was directed by Josh Farthing.
The Sunday School program directed by Bettie Marlowe, Cleveland, began with a parade of state and national coordinators, superintendents, teachers and children blowing bubbles to the songs; “We are United,” and “Bubbling, Bubbling in My Soul.” A feature was a tribute to teachers presented by Janet Talley and Amy Anders to “Thank You For Giving To Me.”
General appointments were made for the next year’s work and David Risch, Cleveland, offered prayer for the appointees, thanking God for the glorious gathering. General Overseer Pimentel brought the gavel down as the Assembly officially closed for 2018.
The 2019 General Assembly will convene August 6-11 at Kingsport.