“Under Oath” underway


More than two years planning, 30,000 pages of paperwork, 6000 nails—to build the stage—and about 2600 Pathfinders have come together at the same event in Queensland.

The young people and their leaders came together to create the “Under Oath” Australian Pathfinder Camporee, which began with the opening parade in Toowoomba yesterday.

The expectation ought to be high this week...It won’t be ordinary but extra-ordinary...Expect God to show up

 Pathfinders from various clubs, line up during the opening parade [photo supplied].  

The mayor of Toowoomba Regional Council, Councillor Peter Taylor, president of the Australian Union Conference (AUC), Pastor Chester Stanley, and South Pacific Division Youth director, Pastor Nick Kross, welcomed the young people from 111 clubs from Australia, two clubs from New Zealand and one from Vanuatu. 

Councillor Taylor was impressed by his visit to the opening ceremony, commenting to camporee leaders that he was amazed with the parade and the obvious efforts of the staff in bringing so many young people to Toowoomba and preparing this event. 

Meanwhile, staff members from clubs and the camporee relayed water to the Pathfinders on the field to combat the heat. Around 300 parents, club members and people from the Toowoomba community watched from the showground stands.

 Pathfinders parade past the grandstand during the opening ceremony [photo supplied].  

Pastor Stanley acknowledged the camp an important event for young people, thanking those who worked to make it possible. “I would love young people to go away with a firmer resolve in their personal faith, along with a firmer commitment to living the values of the church,” he said. “And I would love them to have lots of fun.” 

Pastor James Black, director of youth ministries for the North American Division, will be presenting messages all week to the young people based around the theme “Under Oath” and the life of King Josiah. “The expectation ought to be high this week with what God’s going to do,” said Pastor Black. “It won’t be ordinary but extra-ordinary. Expect God to show up and show out in the life of a young person making that decision for Christ.” 

Pathfinders and leaders alike will be challenged all week by the night meetings, which will include Pastor Black’s message, musical items and a drama, written by Pastor Knight, which examines the story of Josiah, through characters both ancient and modern. During the day, Pathfinders will be challenged physically and encouraged to think deeper about the message with a series of six activities. They will be chosen in King Josiah’s army and have to find gold for the temple.

But setting up and organising this camporee has not been without its challenges, particularly with the weather in Queensland. Two clubs—Emerald and Rockhampton—have been forced to withdraw, a total of 39 Pathfinders and staff.

Otherwise, preparations for the camporee have gone smoothly. Up to 238 staff were on-site organising, building and preparing for camporee for a week before it began. 

 Pathfinders pitch their tents before the opening of the camporee [photo supplied].  

“Camporee setup has been a healthy, positive experience for our staff,” said Pastor Knight. “They have been incredibly calm, organised and efficient. I pay tribute to the staff members and the planning that has clearly gone on ahead of time. Every person here is well aware that they are part of a mission team with the aim of having young people commit or recommit their lives to God.”

Directors first met to plan the camporee in October 2008. It was there they decided on the “Under Oath” theme—exploring the Bible story of Josiah, the boy who changed the direction of his nation—something they believe the Pathfinders can do. 

The camporee continues until January 9.

For regular updates during the remainder of the camporee, visit http://under-oathcamporee.blogspot.com.