Pre-event meetings began Sunday at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla., which include a selection process for a new leader for the Church of God of Prophecy, a Pentecostal denomination reporting a membership of more than a million constituents around the globe.
More than a hundred overseers representing areas from around the world have gathered in an international presbytery meeting where they will pray and discuss various agenda items, including selecting a new general overseer, a position considered a “leader of leaders.”
On Wednesday, the International Assembly will officially begin, bringing a projected 10,000 or more leaders and members to the Orlando site for the denomination’s biennial meeting. The event will include nightly worship services as well as workshops and special activities targeted to children, teenagers, mission workers, pastors, and members.
Special guests for the event include Dr. Mark Williams, general overseer of the Church of God; Dr. David Ferguson, executive director of the Great Commandment network; Dr. Alvin Padilla, dean of Hispanic studies at Gordon Conwell University; recording artists Seth and Nirva Ready; Tony Sutherland, worship leader at Free Chapel in Gainesville, Ga.; and leaders from the Multiplication Network.
Other notable highlights of the week include:
Capacity Attendance This will be the first time the Assembly will be held in Florida, having convened in previous locations such as Kentucky, Texas, North Carolina and its original location of Cleveland, Tn. Based on hotel reservations and pre-registrations, leaders expect the attendance to be the highest in many years, possibly topping out over 10,000.
“The response to this International Assembly has been tremendous,” said Paul Holt, chairman of the Assembly Task Force and executive director of finance and administration. “Delegates from around the world have been extremely enthusiastic about visiting the city of Orlando.”
Diversity of Attendees With a majority of the denomination’s membership being from outside the United States, the biennial meeting is marked by strong international representation. Of the 10,000 expected, leaders estimate that 1,800-2,000 will be of international origin, representing such countries as Ukraine, Australia, Finland, South Korea, Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Egypt, and Pakistan.
Through the week, events will highlight the Church’s diversity, including a Celebration of Nations on Saturday evening showcasing all 132 flags of countries the church does ministry in as well as a brand-new one for the small Indonesian nation of Tuvalu; a Mission Breakfast on Saturday morning allowing donors to interact with mission workers; and the Mission Encounter on Friday afternoon, which will include 76 booths with cultural artifacts, music, and fashion from around the world.
Beyond the onsite activities, the Assembly general sessions will also be broadcast in high definition via an interactive webcast at the Church’s site cogop.org/assembly as well as a free mobile app available here https://guidebook.com/guide/17993/. Based on statistics, for the first time the website audience is expected to exceed the in-person attendees.