Are You Glad for Gladstone?

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when Gladstone comes up in conversation? In the past, when the name Gladstone has been mentioned around the Oregon Conference, it’s usually been in reference to one event -- camp meeting. Oregon Conference camp meeting has a rich history of being blessed by God and being a blessing to those who attend.

Camp meeting has been held on the church property in Gladstone for many years, in fact, for many generations. Through those years, both property and people have gone through periods of change. Tents and cabins have come and gone, RV sites have appeared. Presenters and styles have changed. Buildings have been constructed and eventually removed. Facilities have been upgraded. Children have grown to adulthood and then returned with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Each generation has its own experience and special memories. Our Hispanic brothers and sisters are making their memories here as well. In 2002, our Hispanic membership began holding their own camp meetiing with about 1,500 attending. As of last year their attendance was 4,000.

For some, Gladstone will always be synonymous with camp meeting. However, for a rapidly growing number of us, it has come to represent many things. The introduction of the Holden Convention Center, Oregon Conference administration building and Adventist Book Center have not only impacted the appearance of our property, but also the fashion in which it is used. Camp meeting, though it is still the largest event of the year, is not the only one.

Events on the Gladstone Park campus range in size from church picnics and class reunions to major events such as Follow the Star, an annual walk-through Nativity presentation which hosted nearly 5,000 people in 2009.  Training for both English and Hispanic Bible workers are held here twice each month. Other departments such as Family Ministries, Pathfinders, Treasury, Community Outreach and Childrens Ministries host training and educational events regularly, many including Hispanic Ministries. SAGE (Seniors in Action Going Everywhere) holds three to four dinner parties here annually. 

Our campus has also hosted Conference sponsored events such as the 1844 Summit, Ellen G. White Summit and Town Hall meetings.  Northern Leadership Conference was held here in March and a local Area Pastors Conference will be taking place in April. Last year we assisted the Church of God with their camp meeting by allowing them to use our RV sites, something that we’re considering again this year. 

Our facilities are used by community organizations such as the Clackamas Educational School District and Adventist Medical Center. Community events such as the Stone Tower Russian Concert and Follow the Star, are growing.  In the past three months we have hosted two concerts. The first had an attendance of 200, the second was standing room only with more than 600 present. Follow the Star has grown in attendance from 2,154 in 2002 to 4,713 in 2009. Travelers from as far as the Oregon coast, Salem, The Dalles and southern Washington continue to make their annual pilgrimage to enjoy the pre-tour entertainment and the living story of Christ’s birth. Total attendance for Follow the Star as of 2009 is 30,065.

So how many people do these events translate into? How many actually use our campus? Well, in 2009, Anglo and Hispanic camp meetings not included, the cafeteria served 5,790 meals and guests hosted on campus totaled 13,761. If we add both camp meetings to those numbers they are 16,590 and 32,761 respectively. 

Also not included in the statistics mentioned are the many individuals and families from our surrounding community that can be found enjoying a walk or bike ride along our streets and paths. The Gladstone Park campus, Adventist Book Center and Conference administration building are making an impact far beyond our own churches and membership. They are building bridges and creating outreach opportunities in our local residential areas, businesses and neighboring churches. Many people from the surrounding community attend events here. Yes, even our camp meeting! Are you glad for Gladstone? I hope so!

By Matt Ballard