Sunday, June 28, will mark one hundred years since Florence Crawford preached the opening sermon at the first camp meeting at our current Duke Street location. A look back at 1920 history is a reminder that while some things have changed since then, others are strikingly similar. A century ago, the United States was emerging from a global pandemic that took the lives of millions. There was a deep racial divide with gross injustice, antisemitism, political infighting, corruption, and a wide income gap between the wealthy and the impoverished.
It was in that setting that hundreds of people representing all strata of life gathered on what we now know as the “old campground” to conduct the first camp meeting here. Since the tabernacle was not erected until a year later, the services in 1920 were held in a huge tent. Like the setting of our church services today, it was a sanctuary—a retreat where the turmoil of the world was left outside. That did not mean there was no suffering or heartache among them. However, believers enjoyed fellowship and found solace in worshiping God together. There was a measure of chaos across the country, but unity, in the spirit of Pentecost, among the people of God.
Over the last century, societal dysfunction has continued to exist. Injustice surrounds us. Our society is deeply flawed. We see events that are disgusting. Our hearts break. Some of our brothers and sisters, whom we know and deeply love, are much more severely impacted by corrupt conditions of injustice than others. It leaves all of us with heavy hearts, for the body of Christ is one; when one weeps, we all weep.
One of Satan’s goals is to create havoc in order to divide believers. Conversations that leave us emotionally exhausted and spiritually spent can be detrimental to everyone involved. It risks distracting from the Solution. During these times more than ever we all must look steadfastly to Jesus. Refuse to be distracted. At the risk of sounding cliché, Jesus is still the Answer. He is the One who provides peace within when it is lacking everywhere else.
On behalf of Apostolic Faith World Headquarters to everyone everywhere, Debbie and I extend our love to you and are praying for you. Though all my words feel a bit empty and futile, I pray that you can find some encouragement in them. Keep your eyes on Jesus. When we each do that, He will see us through together. God bless you all.