Joe and I belong to the Bible Fellowship Church denomination. It is an old Protestant denomination that came out of the Mennonites. We are not Mennonite, however, since there are some major differences in our theology. Every year there is an Annual Convention in which all the pastors and many of the elders attend. Since we don't have a Pastor right now, and Joe being the only elder available, he was elected to attend and I went with him.
We got a late start leaving to go but thought we would be OK since we were told it was a two-hour drive to the Pocono Mountains. It's not. It took us about three hours to get there. We got there so late that we did not get to eat dinner. We just checked in, put our things in our room, and went to the first meeting.
All the pastors and elders who were voting members sat in the front at tables. All the women and children and non-voting men sat in the back on folding chairs. So I did not sit anywhere near Joe at all. I did, however, sit with my good friend, Donna, who introduced me to a lot of people. Since Donna is the wife of the Executive Director she knew a lot of people and I got to meet so many wonderful folks.
I didn't want to go to these meetings and didn't know what to expect. But I am so glad I went. It was awesome and totally changed my life. I can't wait to go back next year.
Here are some pictures from our first day... er... evening.
We were in the Sunnybrook Building. All the buildings have the word "brook" in them since there is a brook running through Pinebrook Conference Center. In fact our room was right next to the brook. You'll see pictures of it later. I knew it would be "bare bones" and didn't expect a luxury room, but I was really surprised to see three bunk beds along with a full sized bed that was made up for us. The bathroom was very, very, very tiny with a toilet, sink and shower that was so small you had trouble turning around in it.
This was the closet. As you can see it was also very tiny. And for some reason it had a chair and a ladder in it. I'm sure the ladder was used to get into the top bunk. I have no idea why the chair was in the closet.
I knew there were a lot of people in the denomination, even though the church I attend is very small, but I had no idea that about 300 pastors and elders would turn up along with wives, children, and missionaries.
Another shot of the crowd. A small part of the crowd. The moderator was at the front.
Here's a shot of the delegates and pastors that I got from Pinebrook's facebook page. People were taking pictures all over the place.
The logo of the Bible Fellowship Church. Although I saw it sharp and clear in my viewfinder, it turned out light and blurry. Go figure.
The sign over the stage.
We welcomed a new church from Towson, DE into the denomination. Their worship team led us in singing. They were wonderful musicians and singers.
Here the moderator is introducing Rev. Taylor who was the speaker for the evening.
Another of Pinebrook's photos.
The theme for the Conference was "Pressing On...". Rev. Taylor spoke on "Pressing On...Where Are We?".
Here's Joe and me when we got back to our room. There was a reception for the new church after the meeting and we were able to get some pie to eat there.
Pinebrook's photo of the dining hall. This is the dinner we missed.
Fortunately we brought some snacks with us so that we didn't starve that night. We also brought our own pillows which was a good thing since the pillows there were down and we are both allergic to feathers.
The bad thing was when Joe went to take his evening medicine he found that he had left it home. Oh no! He had some of his drugs but not his anti-seizure medication. We knew he would be OK for that night but he needed it for the next day. So we decided to call his doctor the next day, find a pharmacy nearby, and get a couple of days emergency supply.
Neither of us slept well that night. You never do in a strange bed unless you are really tired. I ended up reading books on my Kindle so I wouldn't disturb Joe while he finally slept. And so ended day one.
To be continued...