In the early days of the development of the Brunstad Christian Church in South Africa, summer conferences were generally attended by those living and staying in the country, perhaps with a handful of visitors from overseas. For the past 20 years, the number of participants, in particular international visitors, has grown steadily year on year. In 2018, just under 400 participants attended the conference. This year, over 500 people took part, with a third coming from outside South Africa, 60% of whom travelled from countries on the African continent including Cameroon, Congo, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda.
The summer conference is not only the high point on the BCC South Africa calendar, but also for those from abroad who travel long distances to attend. Spiritual nourishment, enjoyable activities and plenty of time to spend together with friends from around the globe, makes this an extra special event.
The conference opened with an inspiring evening focused on living the life of a disciple, a life that is a blessing to all those around us. The program for the evening included film clips of short testimonies, encouraging spiritual messages and songs of praise and worship, one of which was a stirring rendition of the song, ‘Nearer my God to Thee’, sung by the Brunstad Christian Church Africa’s choir.
The evening was also to mark the 75th birthday of Kåre J Smith, the leader of the Brunstad Christian Church, who has attended the conferences in South Africa for the past 20 years, and to express thankfulness for all that he means and has done for the churches in Africa. Kåre J Smith opened his address for the evening by saying: “God has worked in me and in my spirit that now is the time for Africa. They have seen a great light and that is the church, Christ’s Body on earth… Through the message of the Son (Jesus), a work of transformation takes place in our inner being.”
The core of the conference was the spiritual edification of the participants. Powerful messages were preached by guest speakers at a series of meetings where emphasis was placed on living a life of faithfulness to Christ. The conference program also included a diverse range of activities organised for the youth and the children.
The workload involved with running the conference was carried by the young people and adults who attended the conference. Working together was a great opportunity to get to know people from other countries and to build bonds of friendship that transcend national and cultural boundaries. Judging by the messages of thanks and appreciation, the 2019 Summer Conference in South Africa was a very successful one.