Evolution v Creation: Where do you come from? This was the theme for the Creation weekend held by Dr Albert Waite.
The meeting line ups were as follows:
Friday - “The beginning, what the Bible and Science have to say”; Sabbath – “Where is God?” and Sunday - “The Age of the earth can Science and the Bible answer?”
There was a lot of preparation work which went on before the event; this involved the printing of tee shirts, leaflet dropping in the community and invitations to other groups, in and around Gloucester, radio adverts and some huge colorful posters placed outside the church and at other strategic locations The Gloucester Carnival in the park during the preceding two weeks provided an deal opportunity for leaflet distribution, which was fully exploited by the Personal Ministries Dept and its team of helpers, who were responsible for the preparation and organization of the seminar
Throughout his presentations, Dr Waite encouraged us to look for ourselves at the evidence and to realise that there is no real conflict between the Bible and Science and he emphasized that Science in itself was not bad. He demonstrated that in most things Science was accurate and indeed Science has achieved much good for humanity but the major conflict arises from the question of the origin of the earth and of life. His target audience was the young people because they need to be solidly grounded and understand the biblical truths to equip them to adequately deal with what they were being taught in school; he quoted Hosea 4v6 to emphasize this “My people perish from a lack of knowledge".
Dr Waite compared the Bible with Science and through his presentations painted the picture of a Majestic God who purposefully and intelligently created the universe, man and all the creatures; a God who nevertheless is so loving that He came close enough physically to not only form man out of the dust of the earth but to also breathe into him the breath of life. He contrasted this with the lack of certainty or agreement among scientists about where and how life began; for example in dealing with the age old question of which came first – the chicken or the egg? Scientists agree that the chicken came first but cannot agree on who made the egg? He showed that the Bible had no such uncertainties. He pointed our attention to the paradox of a God who resides in a place we do not know and cannot reach but who stays with us and comes into our hearts if we let Him in.
The meetings were well attended not only by church members but also by visitors from other denominations and from the general public. Despite the young people being the target audience, all age groups attended and participated and were equally, immeasurably blessed. At the end of each presentation, Dr Waite dealt with a great number of questions from an enquiring and responsive audience and he made it a point to favour the young people by taking their questions over those of the older folk.
At the close of the final meeting on Sunday, a presentation was made to D r Waite by Pastor Tarlev, on behalf of the P.M team, in gratitude for his presentations, after which, all those present were then invited to take advantage of the refreshments provided
17th April was a day for celebration at Gloucester; but it was more than that; it was a day of reflection on the goodness of the Lord and how He has led His people over the past 50 years and this led to hearty praise, thanksgiving, and worship.
It was also a day of reunion as members who have moved on came back and worshipped with us including the families of former ministers; specifically sisters Margaret Stewart and Mrs D West whose husband are former ministers of the church. We were honoured with the presence of the local politicians who took a morning off the campaign trail to come and worship with us. These included prospective MP’s Parmjit Dhanda and Richard Graham (now current MP) with his wife Anthea; Mayor of Gloucester Chris Witts, Mayor of Barton and Tredworth Harjit Gill and city Council member Paul James. Numerous other friends of Gloucester church from various parts of the country also joined the regular members in commemorating this wonderful occasion.
The worship service started with Pathfinder colour party bringing everyone to attention followed by a warm welcome by first Elder Brother Robert Hinds and the special guests all received a gift.
The worship service was interspersed with Congregational singing and other special musical items. The message for the day, delivered by Pastor Daly, himself a former minister of Gloucester church, was apt – Count Your Blessings. Pastor Daly based his sermon on Psalms 103v1-8 and started by asking the congregation who was blessed and all hands went up! The sermon was rich in biblical principle but full of humour too and delivered in a way that engaged even the numerous non Adventist visitors in the congregation that day. Pastor Daly implored the church to develop an attitude of gratitude and recognise that even in our trials there is a blessing to be had and if we can praise God in our calamities He can turn the worst experience in our lives into the best thing that ever happened to us.
A sumptuous lunch was provided for the visitors and the afternoon program was conducted as a trip down memory lane giving the history of the church which has actually had a presence in Gloucester for 75 years although the first 25 were spent in various rented accommodations. This included a roll of honour of ministers and elders; question and answer sessions from the oldest members who related their experiences, more singing and funny anecdotes from the past.
Gloucester church would be unanimous in echoing the words of one of our church founders Ellen White - we have nothing to fear for the future unless we forget how God has led us in the past. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!