"Fifty Five and Marching Strong"
The Gemini Pathfinders Club of the Washington Gardens SDA church celebrated its 55th year in fine style from Wednesday, September 27 to Sabbath September 30, 2017, under the leadership of Director, Michael Fowler and a cadre of committed officers.
The series of events burst to life with the sound of the club’s drum corps as immaculately dressed Adventurers, Pathfinders and Officers marched into position despite the fact that they had braved a heavy downpour of rain and many had journeyed in the inclement weather on foot or public transportation. For many who had gathered for the celebration, that and other displays of commitment earned the club members very high marks in the area of commitment and dedication.
After rich musical items, an overview of the club’s history, and reflections by past club directors who represented four decades, the main speaker of the evening, Pastor Ray Davis, Youth Director of the East Jamaica gave an inspirational charge. In his charge to the pathfinders and the general congregation, he challenged them that despite the fact that they had achieved a significant milestone, they were to seek new mountains to conquer. His message was anchored in the story of Caleb and Joshua, the two faithful spies as related in Joshua 14. The example of Caleb, who at 85 years declared himself to be fit for battle or any other challenge he might be asked to face, was highlighted as the group was charged to be possibility thinkers.
The second segment of the celebration was held on Friday evening.
The featured speaker, Dr Mansfield Edwards, past Youth Director of the East Jamaica Conference and current President of the Ontario Conference of Seventh Day Adventist churches, warmed the hearts of every worshipper as he expounded on the story of Peter as he walked on water. Many truths were presented and all could leave with their own inspiration. However, one significant point that was echoed was the need for everyone to get out of the boat of challenging circumstances and to start walking on the water by faith.
In the true spirit of Washington Gardens, past leaders of the Club returned home for the grand celebrations. These include Michelle Garvey-Clarke, Una Dillon-Morris, Richard Morris, Peter Knibb, Gavin Cole and Dean Sukie. First Elder, Marston Thomas was also acknowledged as a past director of the club. Hundreds of persons affiliated with the club in one way or another were able to view the live stream of the services on Social media.
“Wednesday we got our toes wet, Friday we got wet up to the knees but on Sabbath, we will be fully immersed” were the words of past Director, Andre Graham. This proved quite accurate form the very start of the day’s worship and got steadily better throughout. During the Sabbath School segment, a number of persons led by Master Guide Raquel Phillips explored the impact the Gemini Pathfinders’ has had on their lives. Testimonials were given by young children, new members, parents and long-standing members.
As the Divine Service began, greetings were extended by host Pastor, Glenville Carr, representatives of the East Jamaica Conference and the Jamaica Union. The history of the Club, the Secretary’s report and the Director’s Response highlighted the rich heritage and current activities of the club which have caused it to be lauded as being among the top clubs of East Jamaica Conference and the Jamaica Union. The 105 voice strong Pathfinder Choir belted out the song, “Stand in affirmation of their resolve to cooperate with the leading of the Holy Spirit as He moulds in them, Christ-like characters.
In the second of three power-packed messages, Dr Mansfield Edwards focused on God’s expectations for His children as He builds Christ-like characters in them. As the story of Hosea was expounded and the need for character change was highlighted, Pathfinders and congregants were reminded to allow themselves to be equipped for the task as Moses was; not to focus on what they have but on who they have with them as God is looking for Chris like characters and not persons to conform to the world. In his third message presented during the vesper session, Dr Edwards presented lessons from a pencil summarised in three main points: without the lead, the pencil is pointless, like the Christian without Christ is pointless; it is the hands that the pencil is in that is of importance and the mark the pencil makes is what matters.
Every moment of the time was filled with one meaningful activity or another. These include the message filled skit during the AY service, beautiful singing by Dr Averil Weir and local talents, the impressive march past displayed by the Adventurers and Pathfinders and the solemn candlelight service which ended the day’s celebration. It was an extraordinary weekend of activities which brought blessings to all who were fortunate to participate in person or through the live stream. As observed by Dr Eric Nathan, President of the East Jamaica Conference, the bar has been raised by the Gemini Pathfinders’ Club and the Washington Gardens SDA church and best practices demonstrated in areas such as leadership, support, planning and execution will be highlighted to other clubs and churches, not only for services and practices on earth but in order to build Christ-like characters for eternity.