Church of God Descends Upon Denver as Convention 2021 Begins
By Carl Stagner
After a year of cancellations of camp meetings, conferences, and conventions across the Movement, June 2021 is already proving a welcome sight on the calendar. To participate in the long-awaited Convention 2021 and General Assembly, Church of God people from across the United States, Canada, and beyond have descended upon Denver, Colorado (perhaps ascended if, instead of flying, you drove up to the Mile-High City? Reader, take a deep breath—the air’s thinner up here!). This first-ever hybrid experience has provided more options than ever for participation in both the Convention’s main sessions and the General Assembly, effectively expanding access to ministers and lay leaders who might have otherwise been unable to be a part. So, whether you’re gazing at the lingering patches of snow on the Rocky Mountains between downtown Denver’s skyscrapers—or tuning in to the live broadcasts of the event this week, one thing is abundantly clear—there’s a sense of anticipation in the air, and it’s not just due to the high altitude.
Not only a sense of anticipation, but a palpable sense of “hunger and thirst” is becoming more evident as this great family reunion of the Church of God commences. Appetites were whetted as many arrived early for a variety of meetings and training events, or simply to turn their Colorado visit into a Rocky Mountain vacation. As most in-person registrants checked into the Sheraton Denver Downtown a single day early, early check-in to the Convention and General Assembly proved practical and allowed a space and time for guests to catch up—many of whom had not seen each other since Orlando 2019.
A plethora of pre-Convention electives get Day 1 going on Saturday, June 26, but not without being preceded by the prayers of God’s people. The Saturday prayer service is first on the schedule Saturday, and the numerous events on topics ranging from youth pastoring to credentials to mentoring will certainly be covered by the grace of God. The Town Hall with Jim Lyon, a reception celebrating thirty years of Children of Promise, the first session of the General Assembly 2021, and the opening worship session of Convention 2021 (featuring Noel Castellanos) round out the day—among several other activities.
At 5,280 feet above sea level, Convention 2021 is already shaping up to be a breath of fresh air; yes, the mountainside air is crisp and pretty clear, too, but compared to the year of immense challenge church and society has faced, Denver (more than its skyline) is a most-welcome change of scenery.
Bishop Timothy Clarke, chair of the General Assembly, says it best: “There is no doubt that we gather at a pivotal, an even crucial, time in the life of our nation. It seems as if everywhere we turn and look there is uncertainty, upheaval, and unrest; yet, as troubling as the times are, they represent great moments of opportunity, as well… And so, I welcome to this Convention both those in person and those who are joining us virtually. May God’s presence and power permeate the proceedings and prosper all that we do.”