Joanne and I attended the Eastern Area GS/DS meeting (10/1-3/07) in Lancaster, PA, October 1 – 3, 2007. There are 11 districts in our area and all the DS’s were present except one. This particular meeting was an historic occasion in one sense as it was the last GS/DS meeting for us that will be led by our supervising GS, Dr. Earle Wilson, and his wife, Sylvia. Dr. Wilson plans to finish his responsibilities as a GS at the rise of General Conference next June. He indicates he will still be involved in ministry in some capacity, and we are sure that many will be seeking him out for speaking engagements. During our time together in Lancaster we had opportunity to review and discuss some of the memorials that will potentially be coming to General Conference next year. The Committee on Memorials meets next spring.
Yesterday (10-11-07), I received a communication from Dr. Earle L. Wilson that went out to the Eastern Area DS’s indicating that he is scheduled for some unexpected surgery this coming Monday, October 15th. During our time together in Lancaster, PA, he indicated that he was having a problem with a pinched nerve in his neck which was giving him pain in the arm. This past Wednesday he saw the surgeon in the hopes of getting a nerve block which would reduce the pain so he could make a scheduled overseas trip to Austria and Mozambique with less difficulty. The doctor required an MRI before he could do the nerve block. Dr. Wilson had the MRI Wednesday and it revealed that he has what the doctor called a “massive herniated disc” in his neck. His doctor advised him not to leave the country since a fall or accident could, according to the doctor, result in a spinal cord injury that would leave him paralyzed. The doctor further advised surgery as soon as possible, and as already stated, this surgery is scheduled for Monday, October 15th. Dr. Wilson has cancelled his overseas trip and instead will meet with the doctor today at the hospital for pre-surgery instructions and preparations and then have the surgery on Monday. He’ll remain in the hospital, if all goes well, just one night and then have a week to ten days for recovery. Please keep Dr. Wilson and his wife Sylvia in your prayers for a successful surgery and recovery.
It was my privilege to be present for the inauguration of the fifth President of Houghton College, Dr. Shirley A. Mullen. Her inauguration took place on October 5, 2007. According to the inaugural program, Houghton College began in 1883 as a seminary (high school) under the Wesleyan Methodist Connection. The founder, Willard J. Houghton, was a local farmer and lay preacher committed to the cause of education in a Christian environment, both for the benefit of young people and the future of the church. Houghton’s early principals were Wesleyan Methodist pastors. In 1908 Houghton acquired its first academically-trained president, James S. Luckey. The Houghton College Presidents are as follows: James S. Luckey (1908-1937); Stephen W. Paine (1937-1972); Wilbur T. Dayton (1972-1976); Daniel R. Chamberlain (1976-2006); Shirley A. Mullen (2006-present). Dr. Mullen is an excellent choice for President. She has the formal education. She’s a scholar. She has teaching and administrative experience, and an understanding of Houghton’s history. Shirley was born and raised in eastern Canada, and is no stranger to the Atlantic District. Our congratulations to Shirley and we pray God’s wisdom and blessing for her as she leads this important institution.
Last weekend I was in Bangor – River City to share in the service with Pastor Steve and Nancy Sinclair. The church leases a beautiful facility. This is a property with a lot of potential. They are in the process of renovating 6,000 sq. feet in the basement area which will give them added junior church space, a youth/multi-purpose area, a youth area for games, another bathroom, and a small office. Pastor Steve shared that the church is positioned to help people in need in the Bangor area. This seems to be a ministry that’s pulling on the hearts of the key leadership. A major casino is being erected within a few minutes of where these folks minister and this will bring to the community all the negative impact that goes with the gaming industry. The casino is scheduled to open next summer. Please keep this church in prayer as they deal with these social issues. Joanne and I shared a wonderful meal with the Sinclairs, prepared by Nancy, and had a very enjoyable time of fellowship with them.
I met with the Camp Board yesterday (10-11-07) as we bring another camping season to a close. It was my first opportunity to meet with this great group of people that give attention to our camping interests. We dealt with a number of the usual matters such as lot transfers, the priorities list for Caton’s Island, and other matters pertaining to the Beulah operation. The Wiggins Dormitory and the Beulah Wastewater Project were part of the discussion, and are highlighted below.
One of the oldest buildings on Beulah Campground, the Wiggins Dormitory, was torn down on October 11th. This has been a longstanding piece of Beulah history and has accommodated a lot of Beulah attendees across the years. It was built in 1927, and in 1937 a motion was made during the annual meeting of the Alliance of the Reformed Baptist Church to name it, as all the other buildings had a name. People were asked to submit possible names to the Alliance Executive during that year. From the suggestions received, the building was formally named the Wiggins Dormitory on July 9, 1938, by action of the Alliance. The name was in honor of Rev. W.B. Wiggins, who started the Reformed Baptist Church in Moncton on February 12, 1889, which is now The Moncton Wesleyan Church pastored by Dr. L.D. Buckingham.
The Beulah Wastewater Project is our major “next step” as it relates to Beulah Campgrounds. Mr. Jochen Schroer, an environmental engineer with NaTech Services, continues to work on the environmental aspects of this project, and will meet next week with a representative for Mr. and Mrs. J.K. Irving to look at the pipeline routing across their property. We want to make sure that their concerns are satisfied before any physical work begins on their land. The governmental funding piece is still in process and there is no further word at this time on that matter.
A team from the Atlantic District will be accompanying Dr. HC Wilson (Global Partners General Director) to Swaziland. We will be leaving October 29th and returning home November 7th. Our team members are: DS David LeRoy; Pastor John Symonds, Fredericton, NB – Corbett Ave. Wesleyan Church; Pastor Graham Perry, Mount Pearl, NL – Solid Rock Wesleyan Church; and Dave Bartlett, vice-chairman of Solid Rock’s LBA. While in Swaziland Pastor John and I will be taking part in a pastor’s conference with Dr. Wilson. Pastor John will do three sessions on “The Ministry of Mentoring,” and I will do three sessions on “Forgiving: A Christian Lifestyle.” HC will be speaking in the evening sessions. He will also be the keynote speaker at their graduation.
Kristi Benson (Pastor Andrew Benson) has been in the hospital on bed rest. She has reached her 31st week of pregnancy which has been a huge answer to prayer for this family. Thank you for your continued interest and prayer support.
October 10th was one month since the accident involving DS Dr. Dan Berry and his wife, Shelley. Many of you know the Berrys and have prayed faithfully for this family. Dan is starting to walk on his own and is able to spend more time with Shelley at the hospital. Driving has allowed him the option of spending afternoons with his wife. Shelley’s temperature has now dropped down to normal levels. However, they are still treating her for an infection. Her vital signs are strong but her respiration is slightly heightened due to the infection. She had her eyes open but was slightly tired today. The family (and all of us) are still waiting for Shelley to awaken and start communicating. Please continue to pray for God to heal Shelley. You can get a daily up-date on their website at: www.caringbridge.org/visit/danshelleyberry. Dr. Dan Berry is the DS of the South Coastal District.
The upcoming International Wesleyan Youth Convention, Set Apart ’07, will be held in Orlando, Florida over the dates of December 28-31, 2007. The District WY Leadership Team is not orchestrating any centralized travel and registration arrangement for this event. Individual youth groups are responsible for making their own arrangements. Due to the distance and timing of the event, teens from our area would have to fly. If your youth group plans to attend, this is a reminder that the early bird registration deadline is November 1, 2007 which is obviously approaching fast. And travel arrangements need to be finalized ASAP. It is a proven fact that teens make significant spiritual, life-changing decisions at these events so it is worthy of your consideration. Further information can be obtained on the Set Apart website at www.SetApart07.com Should anyone have questions about the convention, please contact Dr. Jim Dunn at the Spiritual Formation Department. If he is not in at the time, then ask for Scott Simmons or Matt Rhodes in the Youth Division of the SFD.
This Sunday I will be in Dartmouth, NS to install Pastor Jay Guptill at Hillside Wesleyan. While I am in the Halifax-Dartmouth area, on Saturday I will drop by Cornerstone Wesleyan in Hammonds Plains to see where Pastor Denn Guptill and that congregation meet to worship. I also have meetings scheduled with Pastor Mike White, Sackville Wesleyan, and A.J. Thomas, pastor of our new church plant, Halifax – Deepwater.
“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“The only time you must not fail is the last time you try.”
– Charles F. Kettering