New Year`s weekend—once again time for an international conference at Oslofjord Convention Center. 7,500 members from 29 countries participated in the conference, which consisted of 2 days of upbuilding meetings, information, and bringing in the New Year with fireworks and festivities.
Text: Johanne Reiersrud – Photo: Randi J. Hutt
Representatives from all corners of the world came as early as Friday night, even though the official program started on Saturday morning. Many more BCC-members followed along at home, via BrunstadTV`s live broadcasts from the conference.
Kåre J. Smith opened the conference with the verses from Psalm 119:89-90, “Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.”
Jesus came to the earth with far-reaching salvation for mankind, and God`s word speaks of this salvation, which can transform us internally. We heard about the calling to be disciples of Jesus, and the verse from Acts was read about the multitudes who were gripped of the faith and wanted to follow Jesus after his death on Golgata.”So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7).
There was a disciple revival in Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago, and this revival lives on today for those who in truth want to follow Jesus.
Around 7,500 BCC-members gathered at the conference for edification and observance of the New Year. Photo: BCC
A hopeful message for anyone who wants to follow Jesus
To be a follower of Jesus is only possible through humility, purity, and obedience to Christ`s word. “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” says Jesus in Luke 14:27. Those who want to be Jesus` disciples come to him to learn from him and become like him. They can then partake of God`s wisdom and become a guide and help for others also.
The rest of the conference was characterized by the same message. Four faith-building meetings were held in total, in addition to several scheduled performances with a Christian message for young and old. A youth-meeting for ages 13-35 was held on Saturday evening, and on Sunday morning the news program “BrunstadMagasinet” was sent live from the conference, with inspiration and information for all BCC members.
Brunstadmagasinet was broadcast from a full hall, and consisted of inspiration, entertainment, and information for all members. Photo: BCC
More housing facilities and less commuting traffic
Before this conference two new hotel buildings were opened at Oslofjord Convention Center, which increased accommodation capacity by 159 hotel suites. “This is the first time we are staying in the new hotel buildings,” report Liv Kari and Kjetil Sundmark Johnsen, who have taken the trip to Oslofjord for the New Year`s conference, “We have entered a leasing contract with Oslofjord which gives us access to accommodations at every BCC conference for the next 20 years. Even though we live pretty close to Brunstad, we see the value of staying overnight at Brunstad with our children- it is a much better experience and more relaxed to be at the conference.”
Kjetil and Liv Kari Sundmark Johnsen are pleased with the new housing facilities at Oslofjord Convention Center, where they have a leasing contract for themselves and children Noemi, Amelia, Adam og Pauline. Photo: BCC
The youngest children have their own fireworks
“Our kids love to be here, and have looked forward all Christmas to coming here,” they telll us, and continue on, bundled up tightly. Despite the bad weather, they stroll down to the beach area to watch the Children`s Fireworks, which are let off at 7:30 pm on New Year`s Eve. The bonfires are lit, and children and young families burn sparklers so that they can experience their own observance of the New Year before they go to bed.
Many young families enjoyed sparklers, bonfires, and a headstart to the evening with their own Children`s Fireworks. Photo: BCC
Bringing in the New Year with a celebration
Later the same evening, a New Year`s fete was held in the main hall, with a film retrospective of 2017. The sight of so many interesting, exciting, and gripping memories from this past BCC-year made quite an impression. The orchestra from Song Mission delivered top-shelf musical numbers, and edifying words were spoken to everyone present.
The New Year`s fete included edification and a film retrospective of BCC`s 2017, as well as several musical numbers, and was over in plenty of time for the fireworks at midnight. Photo: BCC
New Year`s celebration just for young people
For the older attendees of the conference, the evening ended with an exquisite fireworks display at midnight. Meanwhile, young people who didn`t want to go to bed right away could come in out of the cold for their own New Year`s celebration. Youth from the local church in Bergen held the celebration this time, and Preben Ødegård, who was in charge of the event, reported that giving youth a safe, entertaining, and alchohol/drug-free alternative has been an important part of the New Year`s conference for the past few years.
Preben Ødegård (left) led the audience during the celebration, together with Mattias Opitz and the rest of the crew from Bergen. Photo: BCC
– Vi ønsker at ungdommene skal ha en arena denne nyttårskvelden der de kan ha det gøy mens de markerer overgangen til et nytt år, sier han. – Og vi har selvsagt med viktige innholdselementer her, som også gir noe til ettertanke og kanskje grunnlag for å ta nye, gode bestemmelser for det kommende året.
“We want young people to have an arena this New Year`s Eve where they can have fun while they observe the transition into a new year,” he says. “And of course important subject matter is included which brings reflection and perhaps the basis for new, good choices in the coming year.”
Happy New Year!
We look forward to the next BCC event, which is the women`s conference in March. After that, one thing leads to another with the Easter Camp for youth and the Easter conference, followed by an extra exciting summer at Brunstad.
But until then, a lot of work, fellowship, and activities will take place in the various local churches. We wish all of our readers a truly happy New Year!
The transition to 2018 was celebrated with a New Year`s fete in the main hall just before midnight. Photo: BCC
After midnight, the youth were a captive audience and kept up the positive ambience. Photo: BCC
Earlier in the day young people got a preview of activities planned for 2018`s Easter Camp at stands in the foyer. Photo: BCC