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Conference Thaws Hearts

A yearly arctic Bible conference is a major Inuit event with overflow audiences. It is televised and is accessible via the Internet worldwide.

The Arctic Bible Conference is an Inuit event held in a different community each year. In balmy April, when temperatures almost climbed to freezing and icicles dripped in the sun, it was held for the first time in Rankin Inlet on the northwest shore of Hudson's Bay.

Organizer and local church pastor Rosemary Sandy welcomes people to the conference.

Many in the community of 1,500 watched missionary Kay Gordon and other speakers on local TV as they shared the message of salvation and freedom in Christ. The conference was also transmitted on the Internet.

Conference organiser Rosemary Sandy pastors Glad Tidings Church, the local charismatic assembly. She described the conference as a community event with local Anglican and Roman Catholic priests participating, and the cable provider agreeing to televise it.

About 700 attended opening night and evening services were packed. 350 pastors from 27 Arctic communities flew in at costs of $1,000 to $3,500. The local junior high school's gym served as the conference facility.

A water baptism on the last night was a first for organizers. About 15 were baptized in a large tarp-lined furniture crate filled with water. "Lots of youth wanted to be baptized. We baptized ten" out of 40, said Sandy. "I told them their parents had to agree because they were from different churches. If parents said no, we didn't do it."

But Sandy does not believe the disappointed youth will be discouraged from pursuing their new faith. "I know they'll be back because they were so hungry for the Lord. This is not the end." Glad Tidings planned a youth camp in the summer and Sandy expected many to attend.

Among those baptized were two TV viewers who were attempting suicide, had accidentally tuned in to the conference, and responded to salvation calls.

Next year the conference will be in Pond Inlet. Russ Kroeker of Creston, B.C., a retired Boeing engineer, has traveled with the conference for four years setting up video and cable transmission. Christ Jukes, a Calgary pastor, uplinks the conference to the Internet.

Conference DVDs are available from Bobby Deer (e-mail or phone 819-492-9548.).

Daina Doucet is a writer and editor based in Hamilton, Ontario. She edits the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada's website,

Originally published in Faith Today, July/August 2007.




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