By Carl Stagner
Reports on the ground indicate that hundreds of Church of God people are making their way to Vancouver Church in Vancouver, Washington, for the first of three Regional Conventions scheduled for 2016. Anticipation is higher than ever for the speakers who will address the convention theme—Reclaim Your Neighbor[hood]—including Milton Grannum, Ben Hardman, Arnetta McNeese Bailey, Steve Arterburn, and Reggie McNeal. Many will also stick around for the CHOG Table on Thursday, as the discussion turns to the timely topic of sexual ethics. The first session of the Regional Convention begins tonight at 7:00 PM PDT with Milton Grannum speaking and Alanna Story leading worship.
Last year’s historic General Assembly decision to hold the annual convention every other year also prescribed smaller-scale, regional gatherings to be held in the years between. At the direction of the GA, Church of God Ministries planned and developed Regional Conventions with the same program to be held in three different locations with a wide geographical spread—the first in Vancouver, Washington (April 26–28), the second in Anderson, Indiana (June 21–23), and the third in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (September 27–29). While the topics at the CHOG Table will differ from location to location, related materials are expected to be produced based on the dialogue of each event to inform and resource the movement.
Special dessert fellowships and extra events are also taking place where Church of God people will gather, friends will reunite, and new friendships will begin. WARM, the Western Area Regional Ministerium, graciously merged with the Church of God Regional Convention this year to maximize impact for every attending pastor and layperson. They’re excited for the new opportunity this year’s format will offer, as well. Overall interest in the Vancouver Regional Convention has been especially high, as the convention—formerly in Oklahoma City and previously in Anderson—has now come to them. Host pastor Chris Kainu of Vancouver Church remarked, “I’m excited that more people can be a part. It’s a great strategic move that will help build relationships now more accessible because it’s regionally located. We’re happy that, as one of the larger churches, we can be a servant and a support to others in the Church of God.”
Church of God Ministries general director Jim Lyon is also looking forward to how the Spirit will move over these next few days in Vancouver. Like Chris Kainu, he rejoices in the regional convention’s proximity to Church of God people who live on the West Coast. On social media this week, he tweeted that he’s “thrilled by huge registration for the CHOG Regional Portland/Vancouver” and that “many signed up who have never been to CHOG Convention before, anywhere.”
The Regional Convention program book is now available online for you to browse and see for yourself what hundreds of your brothers and sisters in Christ are experiencing in Vancouver this week. Be sure to use #Reclaim2016 to join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Learn more about this year’s Regional Conventions and how you can register for the Anderson and Philadelphia events at www.chogconvention.org.