General Conference is over, and I'm wishing for more sleep and a foot massage.
The Holy Ghost Crusade last night was a great success. Still not a packed house, but there were hundreds of visitors. The worship was great, led again by Cortt Chavis. Throughout the service, people were being baptized to the left side of the platform. Bro. Doug Klinedinst preached the message, and at the conclusion of his message, hundreds of people flooded the altar to receive the Holy Ghost. When I left the coliseum, 267 had received the Holy Ghost, the altars were still full, and they were baptizing people as fast as possible. Don't know what the final count was.
Since this is my last post, I offer a few observations, thoughts and suggestions:
- There were no wild fashion statements, a pretty conservative group.
- It's rumored that 1700 ministers voted in the business sessions, which is a good number for an off year.
- The hallways were empty during church. Very little of the usual socializing during the service that I've seen in years past.
- Cortt Chavis is the new Israel Houghton of the UPCI.
- Why couldn't children's evangelists be used to conduct children's church during the evening services? Kids wouldn't be bored with church, and a great opportunity for them to receive the Holy Ghost.
- Loved the sofas, chairs, bar tables and stools placed throughout the exhibition area. Much nicer than the park benches seen in previous years.
- Kudos to PPH for a real bookstore atmosphere, complete with chairs, tables, nice smelling candles, hot coffee, and real bookshelves with books listed alphabetically. PPH created a very appealing atmosphere for browsing, reading, and hopefully - buying! By far, this was our favorite booth!
- The chocolate fountain in the Stewardship Booth was a very popular destination!
- The Evangelist Wives area seemed much smaller this year with less participants. Less hair sticks/jewelry, flowers, scarves, purses and clothes.
- The Foreign Missions booth seemed to be smaller as well. I loved the fine china, crystal and tea cups in the European booth. And a first (I think), beautiful, large area rugs from Pakistan -- the real deal! There were no prices listed -- you had to ask the missionary for a price quote. I'm afraid they were out of my price range, but it looks like they were doing a swift business.
- The Foreign Missions Division published a cookbook with recipes from missionaries around the world, FM board wives, and FMD staff. Lots of exotic recipes from Sri Lanka, South Africa, the Caribbean, Chile, Germany and other places around the world. It would be handy to have when hosting international dinners in your local church. Only $20 for a very attractive 3-ring binder with over 700 recipes. Proceeds from the sale of the cookbook go to the Retired Missionary Fund.
- Perhaps the small crowd was due to the sagging economy, small East Coast city or was it the $50/$75 registration fee per person? Maybe a reconsideration of the registration fee should be considered in order to attract more than pastors on committees and boards, and local saints.
- The Sheraton and their staff was wonderful. Except for the tiny closets. . .
- Kent and Nita, we missed you!
All told, it was a great conference, even with a small crowd. Restaurants were much more accommodating this time, staying open late and seemingly happy to do so. No highway construction late at night like we had in 1998. Maybe we'll be back here in 10 years???
See you next year in St. Louis!