Each year, the Evangelical Friends Churches – Eastern Region (EFC-ER), of which Orange Friends Church is a part, gather together in Canton, Ohio for Yearly Meeting. The EFC-ER includes over 90 Evangelical Friends churches located in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Eastern Canada. This year, Yearly Meeting was held July 20th through July 23rd at Malone University in Canton, Ohio.
On Saturday evening, July 20th, Yearly Meeting 2013 activities began with the annual Missionary Banquet held at the Johnson Center at Malone University. The Missionary Banquet is held in honor of EFC-ER missionaries serving overseas. This year, featured speakers for the event included Voicu & Ana Marian (missionaries serving in Romania) and Dan Cammack (Executive Director of Evangelical Friends Mission [EFM]), whose message was focused on the Great Commission and how Evangelical Friends carry out that mission by making disciples. Dan noted that the Great Commission would be incomplete if churches did not equip their people to go out and make disciples.
On Sunday morning, attendees were encouraged to worship at local Friends churches. The afternoon session began with the first-annual Yearly Meeting 5K Run/Walk for Missions. Several attendees participated in this fun event, including our very own Dr. Robert Wafula and Theresa Mabry! They represented Orange Friends Church well in the race. EFC-ER General Superintendent, Dr. John Williams, Jr., spoke at the Sunday evening worship service, and attendees enjoyed music by special guest, Jonathan White.
Day 3 of Yearly Meeting was ushered in by a concert of praise and prayer in the chapel at the Johnson Center. The General Superintendent, Dr. John Williams, Jr., was the main speaker. In his message, Dr. Williams outlined five ways by which a Christian can enjoy the journey walking with Jesus: 1) Forgive and enjoy the grace; 2) Be humorous and enjoy the laughter with Christ; 3) Avoid blame-shifting and enjoy the cross of Jesus; 4) Develop a spirit of gratitude and enjoy Jesus' thankfulness; and, 5) Worry less and enjoy Jesus' peacekeeping counsel. The Monday afternoon session included the general business meeting and the Pastor’s Think Tank session. The highlight of Day 2 was a special celebration service held Monday evening in honor of EFC-ER General Superintendent, Dr. John Williams, Jr., and his wife Carol and their 25 years of service at EFC-ER.
Day 4 of Yearly Meeting included a time of worship and a memorial service for EFC-ER pastors who passed away during the year. Tuesday afternoon included the general business session. Yearly Meeting 2013 concluded on Tuesday evening with a Recording Service for new EFC-ER pastors.
Children and youth of the EFC-ER also had a chance to come together and enjoy Yearly Meeting 2013 with their peers. Senior high teens were given the opportunity to attend Friends Youth United (FY United) while junior high teens had the choice of attending “Challenge Camp 2” at nearby Camp Gideon or FY United at Malone University. There were also numerous activities going on for younger children at Yearly Meeting.
In conclusion, EFC-ER’s Yearly Meeting 2013 was truly a wonderful time of worship, praise, and fellowship! We are already looking forward to Yearly Meeting 2014…we hope you will join us there.