A New Year´s Conference with space for children
The last BCC conference for the year began on the 30th of December. This time there was a record registration, with over 10,000 attendees from Norway and abroad. Here, church members gathered, with their faith as the focal point, with additional parts of the program adapted for children and young people.
By Johanne Reiersrud – Photos by Lidiya Lukashuk
This time we were rounding the corner of a new decade, with BCC leaving a historic time behind. This was duly celebrated in the Brunstad Magazine, at the end of the conference on New Year’s Eve.
A full hall during the New Year’s Conference
Since 1965 BCC has held its New Year’s conferences at Brunstad in Vestfold. Much has happened since then; the first New Year’s event had 800 participants, and this year more than 10,000 guests have taken the trip here. Around 60% of the participants are Norwegians, but there is a total of 33 countries represented from all over the world.
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On Monday evening, the main hall at Oslofjord Convention Center was filled to the brim when the first meeting started. A high point marked the moment when leader Kåre J. Smith opened the conference. He spoke of Jesus Christ as the rock on which the church of God is built.
“We don’t build according to human thoughts or opinions, but on the words of life that Jesus came with. It’s not a new doctrine, but a new life,” Smith said.
He read from the Gospel of John chapter 14:21: “He who has my commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.”
Own program for children
It is clearly the upbuilding theme of faith that brings us together and is central to this New Year’s celebration. But a lot is also done to allow children and young people to thrive. This year, nearly 1,900 families are participating, and Lise Larsen, head of the BCC’s Events Department, explains they have set up a family-friendly program with many great elements for children.
“This time, the New Year’s Conference opened with an outdoor Family Day. Here, volunteers from the local church in Sandefjord helped throughout the day with activities for children between the ages of 6 and 12,” she says.
An ice rink, a sledding hill with artificial snow, and cool Frozen characters were just some of the things that greeted the kids on the first day, and the mild and beautiful winter weather added to the experience. The Christmas market, hot drinks and full activity on the sledding hill and ice rink made for a great start to the New Year’s celebration for many of the children.
A highlight for both old and young
“Parents come to hear the messages of faith, but the children also experience the conference as a high point. That is why we want the children’s program to be just as good for the children as the youth program is for the youth,” says Lise Larsen.
On the second day of the conference, various sport schools for children were organized in the Oslofjord Arena, as well as a firework display for children at 7 o’clock on New Year’s Eve.
The Brunstad Magazine celebrated the end of a historic decade
The last part of the program on New Year’s Eve was a live broadcast of the Brunstad Magazine, with content that both inspired and thrilled. Here it was time for a look back at a fantastic, interesting decade with historic participation from BCC members.
It elicited both laughter and applause as films of “green” songs, humorous contests, themed competitions and historic milestones in the fundraising campaign were shown in retrospective films from the last decade.
We really have a reason to celebrate, and as Tielman Slabbert from South Africa said on Skype Video: “We’ve worked together and built both spiritual and financial muscle. Now we will use this to help people and fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission.”
With the Bible as a guideline – conveyed with the help of technology
It is precisely Jesus’ Great Commission and his good message that have been the keystone to the whole New Year’s Conference. We will follow this up further with in the coming year.
One of BCC’s most important current investments is a project where young people can be inspired to read and learn more about the books in the Bible. The initiative includes animated films, audiobooks and a dedicated podcast studio with broadcasts throughout the winter and spring. In addition, illustrations and information have been developed using game technology, with the aim of inspiring young people to get acquainted with the Bible. The entire project was launched during the Brunstad Magazine, to the great excitement of both young and older church members.
Following an inspiring broadcast in the main hall, thousands of conference attendees gathered outdoors to celebrate the transition to the new decade. While the 2019 photo slideshow from BCC rolled across the large LED screen, and the fireworks lit up the night sky, we wished each other a Happy New Year, together looking forward to the year 2020.