The summer of 2016 will be looked upon with many fond memories for the many activities and events which took place in the life of the Saints of the Remnant Church. As each year seems to do, the many activities of the Church appear to gain momentum, going faster and faster, as the days of June, July, and August roll into view. This year truly was no exception.
Our customary reunions found many of the Saints gathering to Iowa, Idaho, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois to find common ground in worship and fellowship for those extended days. So many times the Lord has called His people to "gather together" for strength and learning as well as to simply find time to quietly be with Him. We of the First Presidency wish to thank those directors of each reunion, Apostle Gary Argotsinger, Elder Morgan Wigle, Apostle Don Burnett, Apostle Terry Patience, High Priest Mark Deitrick and Apostle Bob Murie, Jr. for the outstanding ministry and preparation which marked their successful reunions. We further thank those men and women who gave of their time and skills to provide ministry and support to each of these special gatherings. Without each one, our reunions would not be the wonderful events they have been.
But we must also recognize three other outstanding events which focused upon our younger Saints and families. First, what an outstanding Vacation Church School we had this year! At last report, some seventy young people participated in this year’s VCS and every voice told of its success and the enjoyment of being together for those four days of ministry. Directors High Priest Austin Purvis and his wife Christina once again led an outstanding group of teachers and staff who brought a wonderful sacred experience into the lives of so many families directly or indirectly associated with our Church. We can only pray that those "seeds" planted so carefully in those young lives will bear magnificent fruit in the years to come.
Senior High and Junior High camps were also outstanding experiences for our junior high and senior high age young people. Directors Seventy Darrin Moore and his wife Melody assumed the leadership of the Junior High Camp and High Priest Corwyn Mercer led the Senior High Camp. From their reports, as well as the powerful testimonies of many of those campers who attended, these two weeks will long be part of their spiritual strength. What a powerful opportunity for young minds to come close to their heavenly Father in the strength of those who love and nurture them. It’s only too bad we did not have double or triple the numbers of campers attending these unique opportunities.
As wonderful as our various experiences were, there are warning bells that need to be heard and responded to. Our attendance at every reunion was down markedly this year from years past. As we considered the response of the Saints, it is easy to see that 35-40 attendees at reunions will not provide enough support to continue much longer in this worship format. Without the faithful few who travel from the Center Place to each of our outlying areas, those average attendance figures would be reduced even further. In looking at our youth camps, we notice that same reduction in the numbers of campers who are attending each year. Brothers and sisters, somehow we need to realize that, historically, these events have been part of the life-blood of the Restoration, a time where tired souls and weary bodies could come and be reunited with God’s tender presence and enjoy the fellowship of like minds and spirits. Have we lost that desire? That urgency? We truly hope not.
Our fall activities will begin soon with the Women’s Retreat and the Priesthood Assembly to be held October 7-9, 2016. Here in the Center Place, the Men’s Retreat at Blackgum, Oklahoma, will be held November 11-13, 2016. We urge each member to place these dates on their calendar and make every effort to participate in one or all of them. May God’s blessings truly be upon each and every family and friend in the exciting, confusing, and sometimes bewildering days ahead is our earnest prayer.