Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Boston Hosts the V Annual Apostolic Seminar

Thanksgiving week –a time people set apart to join their families and friends in celebrating all the good and wonderful things in their lives. Traveling, shopping, turkey, stuffing and massive weight gain are all an integral part of what Thanksgiving is about. Of course for some it also means loads of homework, time off from work, and obnoxious relatives but for me it’s one of the most refreshing weeks of the year. From November 26th through the 29th I attended the Apostolic Seminar (A.S.), an annual gathering of the Fountain of Life Church (F.O.L.) where hundreds of people from all over the country come together. After two consecutive years in Atlanta, GA the A.S. finally came to Boston, MA. These are days separated for spiritual renewal and enlivenment where participants have only one goal: seek God. Plus taking a couple of days off during such a hectic holiday is extremely relaxing providing relief from stress.

The F.O.L. was originally founded in Brazil in 1992 and later begun in the United States in 1997. Today there is a F.O.L. in almost every continent including Africa and Europe and over ten satellite churches in America. The Church is known for its outreach programs in under developed countries and for its booming worship ministry, which has released various CDs and DVDs over the years. The Apostolic Seminar initiated in 2004 and was held in Hyannis, MA for two years later being transferred to Atlanta, GA. With the purpose of gathering as many F.O.L. members under one roof to collectively learn and receive more from God, it’s amazing to see how the Church has grown in these last five years. The Seminar has become the Church’s biggest event of the year and so all are encouraged to attend. Because of these last two years of financial difficulty for many, the Church created innumerable programs, fund-raisers, and has donated to help pay for families in need.

Many months of planning and organizing went into making the Seminar a reality, and none of it would be possible without the hard work of dedicated volunteers. With over ten different departments it took a strong team of leaders to make sure everything ran smoothly. Bishops Ricardo and Marcia Agostino, regional coordinators for the F.O.L. churches in Georgia, played a key role in the event’s success. They were given the responsibility of leading and managing the seminar’s formation and department heads. However, this year they faced the challenge of having to do it all from another state. “Being far away from the organization generated a higher workload in the short time that we were [in Boston] but in result, what God did in those days exceed all expectations!” stated Bishop Agostino. Their passion, patience, and competence resulted in a great achievement for the Fountain of Life Church. Boston is the home of thousands of students and many highly regarded universities and colleges such as Harvard University and MIT; it’s known as the world’s intellectual center. For the Seminar to be fulfilled in this old yet lively city is a break through not only for the Fountain of Life Church in general but for all five satellite churches in Massachusetts. “For the Seminar to be held in Boston was prophetic because it’s where the Church’s national headquarters is located and it’s where the F.O.L. first began in the United States.”

This year it took place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Cambridge out looking the Charles River. The usual rate for a night at the Hyatt could range anywhere between $120.00 to $200.00, but rooms reserved for the Seminar received a discounted price of $85.00 a night. The rooms had a guaranteed balcony facing the river and Boston’s skyscrapers. The view was amazing and as the sun went down the many city lights of Boston lit up the sky creating awestruck beauty, not to mention the magical reflection of the moon on the still waters of the Charles River. Because of the very convenient location, participants had easy access to restaurants and stores nearby plus the Seminar offered free transportation for all out-of-state members. The hotel also provided excellent meals at their restaurant including a delicious Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday night. Everyone who presented their A.S. nametag received a twenty percent discount on all meals, including room service.

Apostle Cesar and Bishop Rubia Sousa, founders of the Fountain of Life Church, arrived from Brazil last Tuesday, November 24th to minister messages of love, hope, and faith. “This year there was an emphasis to walk with God, in a commitment of expressing the Kingdom and the Presence of the Lord under a new and fresh anointing from God” said Bishop Agostino when asked to comment on the overall theme of this year’s Seminar. The special guests Pastors Jack and Anne Schisler also ministered, bringing a word of brokenness and passion for Christ. Apostle Cesar shared with the congregation the importance that these two ministers have in his life, the life of his family, and in the history of the F.O.L. Pastor Jack’s biography, A Man After God’s Own Heart, was on sale at the Seminar’s bookstand. Many copies were sold and were later autographed by him. Pastor Jack, at ninety-four, encouraged all with his strength and joy during his messages. The beloved Bishop Thomas Walker also ministered about the act of God in every process we go through. “It’s not about the goal, it’s about the process” declared Bishop Walker. “It was one of the best messages I received, and it affected me greatly,” stated Nicole Johnson, an active member of the F.O.L. and first time participant.

There were very high expectations for this year’s Seminar and it’s safe to say that all expectations were surpassed. Bishop Agostino confirmed that “the number of participants worried us because of the change of location and because of the country’s struggling economy. But God is faithful and we can say that we had the best Seminar of all!”

The 2010 Apostolic Seminar will once again be held in Boston during the Thanksgiving break. For more information or to obtain your copy of A Man After God’s Own Heart and the messages ministered at the Seminar please visit the F.O.L. website at www.fountainoflife.com or call to inquire at 781-233-6600



No comments:

Post a Comment