Peg is a much-loved resident of Riverview Estates and a part of the Central Baptist Church community in Palmyra, NJ. She attended Annual Session for the first time this year. Many persons have asked me where I went last Saturday, so I thought I would give a small glimpse of my day was like.
Early Saturday Morning I was picked up by a member of Central Baptist Church early. We left Riverview Esates around 6:45 AM and headed for New Brunswick, where the ABCNJ Annual Session was being held. I had no idea what to expect. I have attended conferences before but only small ones. I was told Annual Session was a big thing.
We arrived at the New Brunswick Hyatt-Regency hotel about two and a half hours after we left. “Wow!” is all I could say. People were everywhere! I couldn’t walk with out bumping in to someone. It seems to me I spent the morning saying, “Excuse me,” or, “I am sorry.”
Many tables were set up outside the hall, each displaying what different ministries had done this past year. If you are part of the ABCNJ family you can feel good about all we have done to promote justice, hunger-relief, disaster recovery, and “safe spaces” from abuse – physical, mental, and chemical. These tables showed how we are working all throughout the world!
The singing was wonderful. The Urban Promise choir gave me chills, especially “This Little Light Of Mine.” They were so poised on stage but were were also full giggles, smiles, and cheers.
The message which Impacted the most was about why kids join gangs but not churches. The speaker, Romal Tune, asked us what our churches offer kids. Differen people answered, “love”, “food”,“family”, “shelter”, “things to do”, “a sense of belonging.” Minister Tune told us gangs offer those things. They care for each other, offer food, love, a sense of belonging, family, shelter, and activities. So why do kids they chose gangs over churches?
The difference is the gangs are everywhere – on the basketball courts, on the corners, in front of stores, even at school. They are everywhere, but where are our churches? All the things that kids need are inside out buildings. Pastor Tune reminded us that our churches need to go out where the kids are.
That message is true, which makes me wonder, “How can we leave our pews and go outside our walls to where the kids are and bring them the Good News.” This is what I brought home from Annual Session, and I’m still thinking about it!
If you have a chance to come to this wonderful even next year, I think you should take it!