More than 1700 people attended the first Northern Australian Conference (NAC) Big Camp since 2019 at the Riverside Convention Centre in Townsville from June 23 to July 1.
According to conference records, this is the largest number of people to ever attend a NAC Big Camp, with accommodation sites booked out weeks before the camp started.
“It was an excellent Big Camp,” stated NAC president Pastor Darren Slade. “Folks are saying it was the best camp ever and they are probably right. Everything ran very smoothly. We had spent a lot of time in prayer before it began. We upgraded the layout of our campgrounds and had an excellent lineup of speakers.”
The main speaker for the adult tent, Pastor Pavel Goia, Ministry Magazine editor and General Conference associate ministerial secretary, spoke to campers about being empowered by the Holy Spirit. He also spent time in the young adult’s tent during their morning devotionals, speaking about prayer.
Other speakers included Pastors Murray Hunter, Tim Ah Sam, Sharee Greenfield and Daron Pratt, along with many others who presented morning programs and workshops.
In addition to a packed program featuring a range of speakers, the children’s divisions and young adults spent days doing fun activities such as bowling, go-karting, rock climbing and visiting the local tourist attraction Magnetic Island.
On the final day of camp, three young people, Brett Wason-Deshong, Murphy Morris and Rydah Aler, were baptised in the morning, surrounded by 200 supporters.
Pastor Chris Kirkwood and Pastor Pat Tuialii were ordained in the afternoon with Australian Union Conference (AUC) secretary Pastor Michael Worker giving them the ordination charge and AUC president Pastor Terry Johnson leading out in the ordination prayer.
The camp ended with the announcement that after seven and a half years Pastor Slade will be stepping down from his position of Conference president at the end of August to transition into local church ministry within the Greater Sydney Conference.
“There are a lot of things I will miss about the NAC,” explained Pastor Slade, “I will miss the sense of unity around our churches, I will certainly miss the geography, diversity and remoteness of some of our congregations, and I will especially miss being part of the changes and growth of this conference.”
“It was great to finish my term on a high with Big Camp and great that the campers were able to go home revived, encouraged and inspired,” he concluded.