A Dream Come True

A Dream Come True

by Norma Rudert

SDB Conference 1999 – “Be ye holy; for I am holy”

Hope College, Holland, Mich.


Strangely enough, I had my Conference theme before I had the position. Always being interested in Conference themes, I was ruminating about Rev. John Bevis’s theme for 1998, “You are a chosen people.”

Hmmm, what could follow that? How about “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). I determined to suggest that verse to whoever became our new President.

On Tuesday morning in Lindsborg, Kansas (Conference site in 1997), I told my husband about an unusual dream I’d had. “Don, I dreamed that Marilyn Davis asked me to be Conference President. Isn’t that weird?”

Later that morning Justin Camenga sought me out, saying that someone wanted to see me. He led me down the hall to where Marilyn Davis was waiting with that very request! Obviously, some people need more than God’s gentle nudges. This felt like a “heavenly hammer.” So in spite of considerable self-doubt, I knew I couldn’t say No.

In addition to Kevin Butler’s insistence on a monthly article for the Sabbath Recorder, one of the biggest challenges I had was working out the details of the daily schedules. There’s a lot to fit into a busy week at Conference.

As part of those details, I experienced gratitude and joy when I began asking people to take on various responsibilities. Calvin Babcock patiently guided me through the whole process, and with Jim Skaggs by my side I knew I couldn’t completely mess up the business meetings.

From Bible study leaders, seminar presenters, evening speakers, committee chairpersons, choir director, organist, and a logo designer to coffee hour servers, everyone I approached said, “Yes, I can do that.” You know who you are, and so do I. Thank you again!

My two pastors, Bernie Wethington (White Cloud, Mich.) and John Camenga (Daytona Beach, Fla.), covered me with prayers, along with that dear soul, Clara Thompson. My husband Don was a willing and capable chauffeur as we visited several churches. The opportunity to become better acquainted with our extended SDB family was another blessing and source of joy.

Sharing ideas and concerns around the General Council meeting table helped me appreciate the many ways our denomination endeavors to further the mission of Seventh Day Baptists throughout the world. We worked together with a wonderful spirit of cooperation.

On Sabbath afternoon at the conclusion of one of the most amazing and memorable weeks of my life, I was glad to hand the gavel to John Camenga, thinking to myself, “Whew!!! I really need this day of rest.”

Seventh Day Baptists have a long past, well over 300 years. Apparently God wants to keep us around to continue sharing our unique message in the future. My hope is that we remember to carefully observe and teach our distinctives as we look forward to Christ’s return.

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