They told us that we were taking a gamble to plan an open-air event in the middle of September in the UK, because the British weather can be very unpredictable. Nevertheless we planned in faith. With Covid still a reality, we wanted everyone to be safe but still being able to meet together as a Pathfinder movement after being apart and doing events on a virtual platform for a long time. For this reason an open-air event was the way to go. We believed that the weather, in past years, had offered good days in September, and we believed there was no reason why 18 September could not be one of those.
After much prayer and faith, and uncertain weather forecasting in the week before, about 1300 Pathfinders and their guardians embarked on a beautiful, green and sunny Stanborough Park. With picnic lunch, picnic chair, blanket and some even with pop-up tents and gazebos, the crowd gathered for a day of worship, community outreach and baptism. The atmosphere was electric.
Armed with a big stage, a large outdoor video screen, and the expertise of the South England Conference (SEC) media team, the 71st World Pathfinder Day in the Park 2021 became a reality.
The day was unique in that we had no visiting overseas speaker addressing the children, but instead the involvement from Pathfinders from beginning to end. Under the direction of Tina Brooks, the praise and worship team from Willesden and other adjoining clubs initiated the worship temperature for the day. The quality of the theme song, in particular, was evident that our Pathfinders have talent. The Pathfinder involvement included a skit from Brix Kids, a choral verse from Watford Town, a sermonette by teen David Shumba, from West Bletchley and music items from various other clubs. Area 5 had a creative welcome with children from various languages, while Holloway engaged the crowd with their understanding of the phrase 'I Will Go'. The service was crowned with a beautiful mime, by Pastor Geert Tap, to the fitting song 'Watch the Lamb' from Ray Boltz.
After lunch, three Pathfinder and drum corps groups left the grounds to do community outreach in the Watford area. These included a skateboard demonstration, a puppet show, drum and drill performances and handing out of branded trolley coins, shopping bags, and Christian literature. On the main grounds Pathfinders were challenged to start a Community Service honour, followed by very special guests gracing us with their presence. The Pathfinder Day was honoured to receive visits from the Watford Mayor Peter Taylor, the Assistant Chief Constable of Hertfordshire Genna Telfer, and Clarence Jackson, a speaker for youth and on behalf of young people in Greater London. These guests formed part of a panel with Pastor Clifford Herman, SEC Pathfinder Director, to answer valuable questions from our young people pertaining to how they could be supported to make a difference in their communities.
Then came the highlight. Three young Pathfinders, one from Walthamstow, and two from East London Portuguese church wanted to be baptised at a Pathfinder event, and we decided to provide them that opportunity and make it special for them. It was indeed a blessing and an emotional experience for the girls and their families who supported them. Their baptism inspired many hands to go up when the appeal was made for anyone who wanted to be baptised at a future event.
By 6:00 pm the event was over, but many still lingered until after dark, to soak up the last threads of blessings of a glorious day.
One person wrote:
"May God bless you as you keep doing the work of God with excellence. We can feel the love and passion for the ministry, we can feel how much you want our children to be saved."
Someone else expressed:
"Thank you so much indeed to the joyous event that you all have prepared for us. We are from a small Pathfinder club and have been refreshed and regained our new enthusiasm in Pathfinder ministry. This is our first time to join such an event in Pathfinders so all of the Pathfinders were very happy when they went home, joyously sharing it with their parents."
Looking back at the day and the potential differences these events make in young people's lives, one can only praise the Almighty God for His wonderful blessings in the lives of Pathfinders in the SEC, BUC and across the world. World Pathfinder Day in the SEC proved that a difference can indeed be made. In addition to God, one cannot but recognise the efforts of committed Pathfinder Area Coordinators, wonderful Master Guide and TLT Volunteers, a dedicated SEC Media Team, and the amazing local Pathfinder and Adventurer leaders in our Conference.
Our appreciation also goes to the British Union office and Stanborough School for their efforts and assistance to make the day a wonderful success.
The theme for the 72nd World Pathfinder 2022 Day is 'Changing the World'.
Psalm 27: 5, "For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock."
Revelation 21:4, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."