This year the Charlotte Family Weekend was the biggest and best ever! Over 550 people enjoyed a weekend that many described as a “Mini Feast of Tabernacles.” The activities began on Friday and some, who arrived early, had the opportunity to tour the Church offices and the TV Studio. They were able to see the staff hard at work as well as the set where the Tomorrow’s World program is filmed. The host hotel for most of the activities was once again the Renaissance Charlotte Suites. This all-suite hotel is the perfect venue for families and others as it sleeps up to six people in each suite. On Friday evening Mr. Ames got the weekend off to a great start as he gave a Bible Study to 293 brethren on understanding prophetic milestones. The Feast-like atmosphere of excitement carried on late into the evening with much fellowship at the hotel.
Sabbath morning began with a wonderful buffet breakfast complete with omelet bar. Later that morning, there was a hymn sing followed by a Bible Study given by Drs. Douglas and Scott Winnail on tools for preparing for our future as kings and priests.
Sabbath services were a highlight for all 563 in attendance. After a rousing sermonette by Jason Fritts—Assistant Director of the Living Youth program—and a really special musical performance by a combined choir of about 50 singers, Dr. Roderick Meredith gave the main message. His sermon titled “Make Your Life Count” encouraged all of us to focus our lives on accomplishing things that have an eternal meaning. He reminded us that we have been called now to finish the work of preparing the way for Jesus Christ to return. His message capped off a wonderful Sabbath, and set the tone for the remainder of the weekend.
Saturday evening over 400 people enjoyed a delicious dinner in an elegant setting. After the dinner was over, we were treated to a number of musical pieces, sung and played by some very talented members. The young children’s song was especially enjoyable, and a group of men sang the final song a cappella with great gusto and harmony that resonated with everyone. After these talented musicians finished, the dance began. There was music for both young and old and the dance floor was packed with brethren on every song. Next year we hope to have a larger dance floor!
Sunday morning we began our day of activities with a sportsmanship talk from Mr. Sheldon Monson to get everyone in the right mindset for the day’s games. The very well organized basketball and volleyball tournaments began at 9:00 a.m. and ran continuously throughout the day. Five basketball teams played their hearts out to gain the top spot, but when the smoke had cleared, this year’s winner was Josh Lyon’s team of “Southern Gentlemen.” They narrowly defeated Mark Sandor’s “Royals” team in the final game to take home their trophies—custom designed sweatshirts. In volleyball, Jim Meredith’s defending champion team “The Good, the Bad and the Old Guys” faced off against John Robinson’s “LYC Adventure Team” for the finals. After losing the first two sets, the “Old Guys” came back and won the next two, forcing a deciding fifth set. The “Old Guys” gave it their all to get the miracle comeback win, but fell short to the younger “LYC Adventure Team.” Mr. Meredith’s and Mr. Monson’s children showed no mercy to their dads and took home the sweatshirts this year. For those who did not play in the tournaments, there were also free play courts as well as basketball and volleyball clinics for some of the younger children. A hot lunch of freshly grilled hotdogs and hamburgers was served to everyone who came to play or just watch and cheer on the teams. The young children were also able to play some kids’ games on one of the courts in the afternoon. All told, over 300 people showed up for this day of activities and, by the end of the day, everyone was very tired but happy.
Sunday night after dinner, over 220 people still had enough energy left to play board games at the hotel. Next year we will have to get a bigger room for the games night!
On Monday morning about 350 people attended seminars for teens, singles, mature singles and married couples. These seminars are always popular and give the brethren spiritual guidance in areas that directly relate to them and their situation. As these Family Weekends grow in popularity, we may even add new seminars in future years. After the seminars ended at noon, we added a senior citizens luncheon this year that was much appreciated by all who attended. After everyone had eaten from the sumptuous buffet, Dr. Meredith gave a talk to the seniors encouraging them to set a high standard and to “adopt” a younger family that they could mentor and help live a godly way of life.
Monday night close to 150 people showed back up at the hotel for an ice cream social. Many of the younger crowd stayed up late playing games and talking, hating to have to say goodbye to their friends and go home.
The Charlotte Family Weekend was a huge success this year. We would like to extend a big thank you to all who attended and, especially, to all who served behind the scenes. We are looking for ways to improve and attract even more people to this event in the future. The next one is less than ten months away, so start planning now to be here next year!