‘Reunion’ at 2016 Western Bible Conference

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Salvationist family gathers at Pine Summit Camp

The sixth annual Western Bible Conference (WBC)—“Reunion”—took place July 12-17 at The Salvation Army Pine Summit Camp in Big Bear, Calif., with families and friends from around the Western Territory joining to relax, have fun and dig into God’s Word.

“I’m looking forward to a vacation with Jesus,” said Kunthea Twomey from the Los Baños (Calif.) Corps.

More than 400 people attended, including almost 100 young people.

“It’s a reunion of Salvationist friends from across the territory, but it’s more than that,” said Territorial Commander Commissioner James Knaggs in the event’s opening session. “It’s a grand opportunity to have a holy reunion in the Lord. I want so much to be closer to God, to be filled with his spirit, to know what he wants from my life. I need that reunion with God this week.”

The days at camp started with Scripture and prayer with guests Commissioners Philip and Patricia Swyers, former Western territorial leaders who led the first WBC during their tenure. The morning sessions began with worship in song led by Lt. Colonel Lisa Smith, followed by Bible teaching from Lt. Colonels Vern and Martha Jewett, special guests from the Southern Territory. Delegates then gathered in small groups to discuss the day’s lesson.

During afternoon free time, campers participated in activities at the campground or at the lake. Those who wanted to learn something new could choose from several electives, from craft classes to working with the multimedia department’s cameras or learning about the new “Call to Arms” discipleship materials.

In the evening sessions, the singing, led by Jude St.-Aime, rang throughout the camp in addition to special features including Liberty Voices; “The Three Bonnets,” a one-woman show by Broadway alumnus Carol Jaudes; and the CAST (Creative Arts Service Team), an eight-week summer mission team from the Eastern Territory.

“The focus of our understanding this week is found in the Word of God,” Knaggs said. “The truth is that when we consider the possibilities of hiding or securing God’s Word in our hearts, we come to the understanding that this requires a personal commitment to Christ. He died that we might not have just an academic understanding of him, but a personal one.”

For Territorial Program Secretary Lt. Colonel Lee Lescano, the experience reaffirmed how much of a “family we are in The Salvation Army.”

“The theme of ‘Reunion’ has not only helped remind us that God wants us to be one with him, but one with each other as well,” he said. “The teaching, the music, the fellowship and the beautiful setting all have been used to bring us into his presence.”

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