Prayer Conference Returns to Camp Kulaqua

Students enjoy a prayer conference praise band.

Sarah Hunt

Students enjoy a prayer conference praise band.

Sarah Andrews, Editor-in-Chief

The 2022-2023 school year has been one of revival for several events and programs after the effects of COVID-19. The annual trip known as prayer conference is no different. Prayer conference takes place annually at Camp Kulaqua in High Springs, Florida, but has been unable to occur due to traveling restrictions in the past. Few Collegedale Academy students have had the chance to attend this event, so this has been a new experience for the majority of attendees. Prayer conference is a trip where Adventist high schools from the Southern Union gather together for days of recreation, bonding, and lessons about God. For many, prayer conferences serve as a chance to branch out and meet new people, and ultimately a spiritual highlight of the year. 

CA’s group was made up of regular attendees and student leaders. The student leaders left Tuesday night to go through training and prepare for the week. CA departed early Wednesday morning and got there in time for dinner that night. Each night, everyone would gather together in the chapel to sing with Southern’s Engage ministries praise team, and listen to a sermon by Pastor Osorio following the theme: All About Jesus. After worshiping God, students were free to enjoy recreational activities such as hay rides, sports in the gym, making smores, or playing board games until it was lights out time.

Thursday and Friday began with amazing breakfast buffets in the cafeteria, and a session in the chapel featuring Engage and Pastor Osorios’s powerful words. “My favorite part of the prayer conference was the singing,” mentioned senior Gabe Reed. Then, students broke off into their “family groups” which were groups made of a mixture of students from different schools, led by two student leaders. Family groups played bonding games, had discussions about various topics high school students face, and got to know each other as the week progressed. Four hours of recreation time was given to participants throughout the day, where people were free to choose activities such as sports, go-karting, horseback riding, ziplining, rock climbing, and more. After enjoying fun activities and meals with friends, the day was closed out with another session at the chapel.

Friday night’s program was special, and included a foot washing ceremony and communion. Family groups gathered together for the last time and participated in the rags ceremony– a prayer conference tradition where everyone makes a commitment based on their experience during the week. You may notice white rags tied to the backpacks of those who went to prayer conference, a reminder of their experience and promises. Saturday morning was bittersweet as students prepared to return home, however several baptisms took place in the spring, a signal of God working in student’s hearts.

Overall, it was a refreshing retreat for the students that attended, and a great way to branch out into the Adventist community and become all about Jesus. As more and more programs come back to life with COVID restrictions being lifted, this is one powerful event that all students should be able to experience.