Special meetings were held at the Apostolic Faith Church in Wharton, New Jersey, on August 22-29. In the weeks leading up to the special meetings, the congregation did a six-week study on the Revival series. The theme of the special meetings was “Pray without Ceasing,” taken from 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Before each service, a recording of the song “Cast All Your Cares upon Him” was played. Even though a severe storm, including a tornado, threatened to derail the opening Sunday service, people still traveled from far and near to be there. The prelude included an instrumental number followed by the choir singing “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Josephine McElveen, District Superintendent of the Southern and Eastern Churches in the United States and pastor of the church in Washington, D.C., took her text from Matthew 6:1-8, and emphasized the necessity of sincere prayers to receive an answer from God.
A thanksgiving service was held Sunday evening in appreciation of God’s protection during the pandemic. Personal testimonies acknowledged God’s healing and protection. James Timbilla, the pastor in Wharton, gave the message, recounting some of the challenges the church had faced during the pandemic, and how God had brought them through.
Monday evening was a special prayer session led by Bisi Odulaja. On Tuesday through Thursday evenings, Bible teachings were held, with the topics, “A Firm Foundation,” led by Daniel Tetteh; “The Power of Prayer,” led by Jacob Bare; and “The Fruit of the Spirit,” led by Titus Oni.
An evangelistic service on Friday evening opened with a flute solo titled “Speak to My Heart,” followed by a sextet singing “Down on My Knees.” Before the sermon, a soloist sang “Teach Me to Pray.” Bob Downey, Director of North America Work, took his text from 1 Thessalonians 5:11, and emphasized the benefits of edifying and encouraging one another, including receiving encouragement from the Bible, attending church services, hearing victorious testimonies, and listening to Gospel music.
Saturday morning included seminars for adults and young adults. Following a delicious lunch, a workers’ conference was held in the afternoon. On Saturday evening, a virtual concert with the theme “Sweet Hour of Prayer” included selections from the youth and an orchestra rendition of “Higher Ground.” The youth choir sang “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” and Brother Bob gave the closing remarks, using Matthew 7:7-8 for his text, encouraging the listeners to take all their needs to the Lord.
The concluding Sunday morning service began with the orchestra playing “In the Garden” and “Whispering Hope,” after which the choir sang “Without Him.” The youth choir sang “Standing in the Need of Prayer” with “So Glad I’m Here,” followed by the Scripture reading from 1 Kings 18:21-38. Before the sermon, a soloist sang “The Altar.” Brother Bob read 1 Thessalonians 5:17 for his text, and highlighted what it means to pray without ceasing, and to sincerely hold on in prayer until the answer comes.
The closing service on Sunday evening began with recorded orchestra and choir selections from the 2019 Wharton special meetings. Before the testimony portion of the service, a men’s group sang “The Royal Telephone.” Before the sermon, a soloist sang “Back to Bethel.” Brother Bob took his text from 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, and brought out the need to be ready for the imminent Rapture of the Church.
The Spirit of the Lord was felt throughout the special meetings, and the spiritual blessings received and sweet fellowship were a blessing to all who attended.