The theme for the special meetings held at the Apostolic Faith Church in Oceanside, New York, on June 5-12 was “Give Me the Old Time Religion.” The theme verse was Jeremiah 6:16. During the opening service, the choir set the tone by singing “How Firm a Foundation.” Josephine McElveen, District Superintendent of the Southern and Eastern Churches, preached on “Mercy before Judgment.” Referring to the theme verse, she said that God was merciful in spite of Israel’s continual backsliding, but eventually judgment came. She encouraged the congregation to make the choice to serve God while mercy’s door is still open. On Sunday evening, James Timbilla, the pastor in Wharton, New Jersey, emphasized the need to stay faithful in the old-time religion in order to escape God’s judgment.
On Tuesday evening, Bisi Odulaja, from Wharton, exhorted the congregation to follow “The Path of Truth” by worshiping God in spirit and in truth. On Wednesday evening, Lana Alofe, the group leader in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, read Isaiah 62:6-7 for his text, and challenged the congregation to be “watchmen” who maintain the old-time religion and pass it to others.
On Thursday, Heraclio Wyatt, Jr., the pastor in Brooklyn, New York, spoke on “The Way of the Cross.” He read 1 Corinthians 1:17-25 for his text, and brought out that the Cross is a reminder, a solution, and a guide. He encouraged the congregation to remember that the old-time religion begins at the Cross.
Darrel Lee, Superintendent General, gave the message on Friday evening, and he took his text from Luke 7:24-27. He asked the question, “What will you do with what you have heard?” and challenged the congregation to apply the messages in God’s Word to their hearts.
Many victorious testimonies were given during the special meetings. Debbie Lee, Brother Darrel’s wife, said she appreciated her Christian heritage, and how God has directed her life and blessed her with a wonderful husband, children, and grandchildren who are serving the Lord. A man testified in Spanish and thanked the Lord for saving him, sanctifying him, and filling him with the Holy Spirit, and for giving him the privilege to be a minister of the Gospel. Another woman told how God protected her when a bicyclist collided with her vehicle. A young boy testified that he feared going to Hell, so he asked his grandma to pray with him, and Jesus came into his heart. Hearty “Amens” followed each testimony.
An evening of music was presented on Saturday, with selections from the choir and orchestra. Some of the choir numbers included “Down by the Riverside,” “Down to the River to Pray,” “Holy Highway,” and “Highway to Heaven.” Amazing classical pieces were presented from various instrumentalists. It was a delightful and soul-inspiring evening for all who attended.
Hearts were blessed on Sunday morning as the service opened with a flute solo by Dotun Ewumi, from Nigeria, followed by the choir singing “Glorious City of God.” The youth choir then sang “My God Is Real.” Brother Darrel read Judges 6:12-16 for his text, and emphasized the importance of obedience to God. He brought out that just as God was with Gideon, He will be with all who are obedient and put their trust in Him.
The special meetings concluded on Sunday evening with a sweet fellowship service with visitors from various branch churches, including Portland, Oregon; East Bridgewater, Massachusetts; and the Bronx, New York. Brother Darrel read Acts 3:1-5 about the healing of the lame man, and encouraged the congregation to come expecting to receive from the Lord because His power is still available to save, heal, and lift up the brokenhearted.
The week of special meetings was blessed indeed as the Spirit of God was felt around the altars after every service. The sweet fellowship felt like Heaven on earth, and the prayer is that those who attended will continue to uphold the transforming power of the old-time Gospel.