“Homecoming on the Hill” Displays God’s Power, Overcomes Obstacles
By Adrian D. Powell
After an absence of two years from “Zion’s Hill,” the National Association of the Church of God saw the presence of God in unexpected and spectacular ways at the annual camp meeting. Though the West Middlesex, Pennsylvania, event got off to a rocky start, God’s power was displayed and obstacles overcome.
The chief operating and development officer, Rev. Dr. Arnetta McNeese Bailey, in her official statement regarding the campground fire, provided the following narrative:
“I was awakened Saturday morning at 2:10 AM, reporting a fire in Frisby and the Mary Terrell Dining Halls. As the saints gathered in prayer, we watched the building, engulfed in flames.” The reporter for the Sharon Herald newspaper, Melissa Klaric, approached, showing empathy for those who would shortly arrive at what was taking place, when she asked what would be done with the event scheduled to begin the next day. Dr. Bailey, displaying a sure belief in the power of God, said without reservation, “WE ARE HAVING CAMPMEETING.”
The fire caused the loss of two buildings named for stalwarts of the National Association’s history and, while the memory of their work will live on, the physical presence of the actual building was a useful connection for those who were not reared with the knowledge of that history.
“We are coming through this stronger, better, and more determined to live as kingdom citizens! Buildings were lost, but lives were saved because of God’s divine protection and our newly installed fire alarm system throughout the grounds. Tears of sadness were replaced with statements of faith. God was not caught off guard this morning. So, ‘we count it all joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything’ (James 1:2–8).”
It took over a hundred firefighters three hours to finally extinguish the flames. Though the tragedy of lost historical buildings with strong historical value to the National Association will be felt for years to come, everyone rejoices that there were no injuries or loss of life. And, considering the powerful praise and preaching that would follow across the hours of this year’s “Homecoming on the Hill,” it was clear that God has so much more in store his people.
Tatum Osbourne, executive pastor of Refuge Church in Brooklyn, New York, gave the following assessment of the experience on Zion’s Hill this year.
“What an honor to serve God and his people. The long days and nights are but light afflictions for the glory we experienced. Thank you to the presiding elder Pastor Clifton McDowell, vice-presiding elder Rev. Dr. Cheryl Sanders, CODO Rev. Dr. Arnetta McNeese Bailey, CFO Rev. Dr. James Brown, and Sis. Beverly Alford for the opportunity to serve the body of Christ again.”
“Every preacher was tapped into their vein in God,” she continues, “which was evident in the preaching. The music drew you into the presence of the Father, sacredly allowing us to be participatory and not just spectators. Shout-out to Rev. Dr. Leslie Barnes, Dr. Scott Cumberbatch, and the entire music team. The fellowship was sweet. What a blessing to see the saints after two years apart. God was on that hill! Looking forward to the NEW—bigger, better, brighter, bold! Forward NACOG, forward.”
The words of Paul in his letter to the Philippians 3:13–14 come to mind: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (ESV).
Learn more about Church of God Ministries’ Partner in Ministry, the National Association of the Church of God, at www.nacog.com.
Adrian Powell is an associate editor with Church of God Ministries and serves as senior pastor of Faith Community Church of God in Grove City, Ohio. He has been published in numerous periodicals, newspapers, and blogs, and has authored two books—The Jubilee Harvest and Resident Aliens: A Living Faith in a Hostile World, available at Amazon.com.