This year's World Pathfinder Day celebrations under the theme 'Go with Jesus' occurred at the immaculate Stanborough Park grounds of the British Union Conference (BUC), where over three thousand Pathfinders gathered for the annual celebrations.
The Sabbath 16 September event was hosted by the BUC Youth Director, Pastor Kevin Johns with the assistance of his counterparts, the South England Conference (SEC) Pathfinder Director, Pastor Clifford Herman and the North England Conference (NEC) Director, Pastor Ikwisa Mwasumbi, the main service speaker.
The favourable late summer weather significantly lifted the day's celebrations as young and old picnicked and mingled freely throughout the day. Highlights of the day included a drill by the NEC and SEC drum corps with a guard of honour by their Area Coordinators. There was a baptism of six Pathfinders, a worship experience involving praise, a sermon, and a musical concert in the afternoon showcasing the diverse musical talents within the BUC with instruments and vocals.
The divine service speaker, Mwasumbi, focused on the theme 'Go with Jesus' by referencing the books of Joshua and Judges and the power of one person. He showed through the example of Joshua, who said, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, that we all have a responsibility of choice to decide on serving the Lord and called on his audience to always make the right choices for themselves. He also shared stories about how one individual can make a difference in a community, a country and the world.
One of his examples of an individual who made a significant difference in their community was Sir Dave Brailsford, who took the challenge of transforming cycling in the United Kingdom. Dave Brailsford used the idea of marginal gains to bring his team to glory. He showed that you could use small improvements to get one per cent better every day and find success, too. When he became head of British Cycling in 2002, the team had almost no record of success. His decision eventually saw the cycling transformation that produced world champions like Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish and how that catapulted cycling in the UK from not good to world record holders. Mwasumbi concluded his message with an alter call that saw many young people respond by walking to the front where Johns prayed for them before the six candidates were baptised.
BUC Youth Director Johns said, "Nurturing our young people is critical to what we do with Pathfinders by emphasising spirituality. The Pathfinder Day celebration was about celebrating spiritual commitments and allowing our Pathfinders to make decisions for Christ. That is why we included baptism in the service as a significant aspect of the programme, with six young people celebrating baptism openly. The subsequent appeal elicited over a hundred children to come forward in response to the appeal to commit their lives to Christ. It was a joy to see many children excited about being baptised."
Johns added, "The Pathfinder Bible Experience has contributed to 70 children who were baptised this year. They were invited to come forward during the celebration of the newly baptised." Johns says that excludes Pathfinders from the Missions absent on the day.
Among the guests was BUC President Pastor Eglan Brooks, who encouraged the young people and welcomed the newly baptised into the Adventist fellowship as they all received T-shirts with the inscription 'Reflecting Hope', the BUC outreach initiative. He encouraged the newly baptised to reflect Christ wherever they found themselves.
The World Church voted Pathfinders into existence in 1950 as a significant Church ministry. This Church department has grown and can be found in over 180 countries worldwide, with about two million members. The World Pathfinder Day, however, was introduced in 1957 and has since been marked by Pathfinders annually. BUC Youth Director Johns says, "It allows us to emphasise the need for our young people to reach out into their communities."