Saturday, August 23, 2008
This past week was the 30th annual Canadian Carey Family Conference. It was our families' fifteenth. Our kids have grown up there. Every year we renew acquaintances and make new friends. It is organized by the Sovereign Grace Fellowship of Churches of Canada, but welcomes people from other churches as well. Approximately 20 churches are represented. We've been at this current location, near Paris, Ontario for three years. The accommodations are much better. Some people camp, while others stay in cottages or the on-site motel. We have a lovely one bedroom cottage that is ours for the week, as payment for handling the finances and administration for the conference. Our kids tent with their friends.
There are classes for all ages, team sports, a pool, campfires, or free time to visit with friends. There is the option of having some or all meals in the dining hall.
It is a conference, first and foremost, however, and the highlight is always the preaching sessions. There are two per day, or twelve for the week. The kids are in their own classes in the morning, and everyone is together for the evening. Coming from a small church, I really appreciate the singing. Some hymns are sung with harmonies, and it gives me goosebumps, especially when we sing the last verse accapella. You'd think you were in heaven, already. There is a ministry to the deaf and it's interesting to watch the sermon being signed as it's being preached. Some of the signs are beautiful.
Our local pastors each take a morning session on a previously planned theme. This year it was on the miracles of Jesus in the book of John. The evening sessions where done by our main speaker. This year it was Bill Bygroves, from Bridge Chapel, in Liverpool, England. He spoke on Sacred Songs, and preached from the Psalms.
I am never disappointed in the preaching. The feedback from the teens was that this was the best Carey ever, and they couldn't wait to hear him preach each evening. The Carey is always a great time to recharge your spiritual batteries. There's a book table by Sola Scriptura and we bought 15 new books. This way we continue to be taught long after the conference is over.
Wednesday night is talent night, which is always a highlight. Our Pastor usually produces a funny poem about the week, and this year was no exception. Some years he's been upstaged by another Pastor, who has "rapped" a better poem, or has even sung opera to put him in his place. It's hilarious.
One thing we've always enjoyed doing, is hosting the speaker for a meal. We've met some great men of God over the years. This years' speaker is also a coach and chaplain for the Liverpool soccer team in England. They are my husband's favourite team. Imagine our surprise when he said, "You must come to England, stay with us in Liverpool, come to Anfield for a game, and meet the guys." My husband was nearly hyperventilating! If the windows of heaven should open, could such a thing be?
He also held two soccer clinics for the kids. He learned the names of all forty of them and was very encouraging. It was fun to watch.
It was another great conference and such a blessing to our lives.