ANDERSON — Annual Church of God gatherings typically involve members of the faith movement getting together — in some fashion.
Church of God believers from across the nation and world have flocked to Anderson for the past 130 years, but this week’s event dubbed “Global Gathering” has a newer international focus.
Global Gathering will serve as the 2013 North American Convention of the Church of God. Delegates from over 60 countries and roughly 2,000 believers are gathering today through June 25 to experience fellowship and community and focus on issues of reconciliation, world hunger, and clean water.
Ronald Duncan, general director of Church of God Ministries, hopes that the convention in conjunction with local churches will pack 250,000 meals to fight world hunger as well as raise $100,000 to bring clean water to areas of the world without it.
“These issues impact not only the city but also the world,” Duncan said. “We are trying to address the world needs and also celebrate what has been done in the past and can be done in the future.”
In addition to those goals, Global Gathering will offer more daily worship services than the usual North American Conference and host 10 speakers from the U.S. and around the world. Most will be streamed online through www.chog.org
Arnetta Bailey, executive director of Christian Women Connection, is among the major speakers and will deliver a talk titled “Experiencing the Power of the Holy Spirit.”
“I am amazed and honored to be chosen to speak in the company of men and women from the Church of God around the world,” Bailey said. “It is a truly humbling experience.”
Today’s Church of God conventions have their roots in what were known as camp meetings throughout the early and mid-20th century. Those meetings drew thousands of people to Anderson to share in community and faith in a camp atmosphere.