Empire State Fellowship Fall Conference

MARILLA, N.Y.—The Empire State Fellowship of Regular Baptist Churches held its annual fall conference, conducted this year by the Merrill Evangelistic Team. Randy and Tricia Merrill and their two sons, Marciah and Malchijah, along with Randy’s parents, Ron and Donna, make up this three-generation family of musicians and evangelists. Hailing from Winston-Salem, N.C., they travel extensively around the country holding conferences in churches of all sizes. For the ESF conference, members of the family led the singing, provided inspirational music using numerous instruments (including “singing crystals”), recited monologues, preached stirring messages, and taught children in their own sessions. Teens met for two sessions of their own with Jeff Stimpson, former youth pastor of First Baptist Church in Marilla, N.Y., which hosted the conference. Craig Golden, state representative of the ESF, says the 300 attendees, representing 53 churches, “thoroughly enjoyed this energetic, dynamic, godly family.” He says, “There was a family atmosphere throughout the two days including having meals together as one big happy family in the church’s gymnasium”—which was most appropriate, since the conference theme was “Strengthening Family Ties.” Golden says the fellowship was sweet, the music “super special,” and the messages on the family helpful. He praises the Lord for the Merrills and their fine ministry.