Churches across South Pacific celebrate World Pathfinder Day

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Pathfinders at the South Queensland "mini camporee". (Credit: Henry Suluvale)

To celebrate the global ministry of Pathfinders, the General Conference-run World Pathfinder Day was held on Sabbath, September 18, with churches across the South Pacific Division (SPD) gathering together to commemorate and reflect on this year’s theme “I Will Go”.

While many Pathfinder clubs throughout Australia and New Zealand were forced to meet virtually due to lockdowns, others organised special events to commemorate the occasion. In Luganville, Vanuatu, clubs gathered to compete in fun activities at the Samna Pathfinder Fair Day, which culminated in the baptism of three Pathfinders.

The Pathfinders who were baptised on World Pathfinder Day, September 18.

Pathfinders from the Munungjali district in South Queensland were also able to meet together for a “mini camporee”, held at Ivorys Rock. According to a Facebook post by District Director Alan Aldridge, the district is made up of Gold Coast, Coastlife, Reedy Creek, Edens Landing, Beaudesert, Park Ridge, Logan Reserve, Browns Plains Samoan, Logan City Samoan, Kingston Samoan, Cornubia Samoan and Springwood Samoan Pathfinder clubs.

“We weren’t scheduled for a Munungjali Camp this year but since Camporee was cancelled at Easter due to COVID, our team of DD’s has pulled together a special camp for this weekend,” he said in the post.

In Fiji, Nakaulevu Pathfinder club practically demonstrated the theme “I Will Go” by putting together care packages and delivering them to families in need. Meanwhile, Pathfinders from Tamavua English Seventh-day Adventist Church participated in a two hour broadcast, while Wainadoi Hilltop and Wainadoi English Pathfinders also met together online.

Online meet-ups were also popular in Australia, with Australian Union Conference Youth director Pastor Jeff Parker saying that it was “exciting to see so many pathfinder clubs being active on pathfinder day. Unfortunately, the big church population bases are in lockdown (NSW and Vic), so Zoom it was.”

Despite this, Cabramatta and Cabramatta West Pathfinders (NSW) created an online program for their church, filled with music, messages and special features and interviews with the Pathfinders. Canberra National Pathfinders (ACT) did the same, which featured highlights from throughout the year and a drama performance. Other Pathfinder clubs across Australia also created programs and celebrated World Pathfinder Day in their own way, including Mile End (NSW), Newcastle (NSW), Bunbury (WA), Burnie-Waratah (Tas), Lilydale (Vic), Narromine (NSW).

“Pathfinders have had a couple of hard years in the southern states but are still very active, which says a lot about the resilience of both our Pathfinder leaders and Pathfinders,” encouraged Pastor Parker.

In Tonga, where Pathfinders were able to meet together in person, clubs gathered for a special World Pathfinder Day service organised by the Tonga Mission to recite the Pathfinder pledge and law.

Then in Papua New Guinea, Pathfinders from across the country—including Rei Village Province, Vual Province and Kavieng New Ireland Province—held special church services. Meanwhile, youth from Sonoma Adventist College, as well as Pathfinders and Adventurers from more than 20 churches across the East New Britain Province, attended a Pathfinder Fair at Kalabon, Kokopo.

An encouraging video from South Pacific Division associate youth director Pastor Nick Kross summed up the theme of World Pathfinder Day well, when he said, “When Jesus calls you, he calls your life. And when he says go, he means go out every day, continue to go out and make a difference every day. Although in some parts of the world, we are in lockdown . . . in other parts we can go out and make a difference today! God is going to stand beside you.”