The First Sabbath series is an online program sponsored by the Office for Regional Conference Ministries (ORCM). Usually broadcasted on the first Sabbath of each month (hence, the name First Sabbath), it is an interview program that has as its guests leaders and newsmakers in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in general and in Regional Conferences in particular.
Guests on past First Sabbaths have included leaders such as Dr. Ted N. C. Wilson, President of the General Conference; Elder Paul Douglas, Treasurer of the General Conference (and the first black person to hold that position); Dr. G. Alexander Bryant, President, North American Division; Dr. Leslie N. Pollard, President, Oakwood University; H. Clifford Reynolds, Headmaster, Pine Forge Academy; the Regional Conference Presidents and many others.
The guests are interviewed by ORCM Executive Director, Elder Dana C. Edmond; ORCM/RCRP Communications Director, Elder Gerson Pancorbo and Howard University Doctoral Student, Ms. Rebekah Bell Jackson, who serve as co-hosts of First Sabbath.
During the Camp Meeting season, it was thought to broadcast First Sabbath from one of the Regional Conference camp grounds. The idea was to give those who were not physically attending a camp meeting an idea of what happens during camp meeting. This was done by a video produced by Elder Pancorbo, as well as through interviewing the conference leadership.
It was decided that the very first Regional Conference-the Lake Region Conference-would be the conference from which First Sabbath would be broadcast. Elder Edmond and Elder Pancorbo made their way to Camp Wagner in Cassopolis, Michigan, located about two hours east of Chicago.
Ms. Jackson was unable to make the trip due to a previous commitment. The Lake Region Communications Director, Mrs. JeNean Lendor, ably filled in for her, as well as working through the logistics of the on-location online broadcast-along with Lake Region Media Ministries Director, Elder Paul Young.
While many conferences have shortened camp meeting to long weekends, Lake Region maintains the traditional 10 day Camp Meeting. First Sabbath took place on the first Sabbath of Lake Region’s Camp Meeting.
Elder Edmond, Elder Pancorbo and Mrs. Lendor began the interviews with the Lake Region Conference President, Elder Garth Gabriel. In his first full term as President, Elder Gabriel shared his vision for the conference and for the campground itself. He also shared a little about his wife and his children.
The Vice President for Administration, Dr. Abraham Henry, was next in the interviewee’s chair. The youthful Dr. Henry–believed to be the youngest administrator in the Adventist Church in North America–discussed his duties as the Chief Operating Officer of the conference and what those duties looked like as it relates to Camp Meeting.
The final interview was with the new Conference Treasurer, Elder Kent Nichols. Approximately 6 months into his new assignment, Elder Nichols shared his perspectives on his new responsibilities.
Elder Edmond closed the program by thanking the participants and sharing information about the next First Sabbath-a focus on Youth Ministries, on August 5. The special guests are the Regional Conference Youth Directors.