“Single, but Never Alone”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey chose as their theme “Single, but Never Alone” and its corresponding scripture from Hebrews 13:5 “…I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

With conference singles’ coordinator Vera Ragland leading out, Louisiana with the Berean church hosting was this year’s locale. The Friday night through Sunday morning gathering was a reunion of sorts with many singles not having seen each other since the 2013 event. Activities began with Friday night vespers featuring an agape feast, a “Need to be Connected” message from Charlotte Cornish of the Emmanuel church in Hammond, an open mic session and of course, a birthday cake celebrating those born July through December. Then it was back to the hotel for the many out-of-towners and home for the locals for what would be a quick night’s rest.

Sabbath service followed the average church’s format except singles led out in every phase beginning with the different states presenting the Sabbath School lesson.   Our worship speaker, John M. Scott, pastor of the Northwest Brampton Church in Ontario, Canada was no stranger to us singles in that he had presented at two of our previous Labor Day Retreats. Thus he was a welcomed addition to the weekend. His Sabbath message titled “Challenges of Going the Extra Mile” was based on 1 Kings 17:8-16. “It is not uncommon for God to use any method to reach His people,” he began. “Whether good, bad, obedient or disobedient – the bottom line is to get the job done,” he continued. The drought dilemma confronting the Israelites and how God used it as a wake-up call provided background. The emphasis was on how the initial reluctant but eventual cooperative widowed woman trusted Elijah and was rewarded beyond measure in the process.   “Some of her challenges were her gender- proving that God is no respecter of person; her station (a widow), – in spite of Paul’s wish that all men were like him, Paul added that marriage is good for prosperity and posterity; the scarcity of water that the widow has to scrape for – maybe God is waiting until we have the least to reach us , and Elijah’s persistent request translating into how sometimes we need a prophet in our lives to assist us in going a step further.” To the enrichment weekend singles, Scott admonished us to “Rejoice in our singleness; enjoy the journey, do what God has called you to do where you are planted. God has a station for you. Help to tear down the walls of sexism and racism. Do not ignore your challenges, but rather rise to them instead. Let others see God’s reflection in you, and above all – remember that singles’ ministry is about God, not about you when you allow His adequacies to oversee your inadequacies. No, singles, your theme is correct when you place your singleness and loneliness in God’s hands.”

Following lunch we proceeded to what singles’ ministry is about and that is outreach. This year’s ministry took us to The Raven’s Outreach Center for Homeless Veterans where we (with a resident at his keyboard) along with the vets- ministered in song, listened to words of encouragement from Pastor Scott, and then distributed gifts of linen, toiletries, cleaning products, personal hygiene items, gift cards/cash and fruit bags courtesy of Berean’s community services department to an obviously appreciative group.

The formal ball from 7:30 to midnight and the Sunday morning brunch which featured a panel discussion “Singles Have Issues, Too” moderated by Pastor Scott brought the weekend to a fitting close.

According to Ragland, “We’ll see you somewhere in Texas next year (2015).   We thank God for the assurance that even though we’re single, we’ll never be alone.

By: Evelyn M. Edwards

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