Texas Winter Family Weekend in Mineola
The Texas Winter Family Weekend at Hidden Pines Venue in Mineola was a tremendous success, with 195 in attendance for Sabbath services. Dr. Douglas Winnail gave an inspiring sermon titled “From Whom Much Is Given, Much Is Required,” which was followed by a delicious dinner, Talent/Fun Show, and dance.
On Sunday morning, 150 attended the Bible Study given by Mr. Glen Harrison, “Being An Encourager.” That was followed by a Sunday brunch of eggs, beef sausage, and biscuits and gravy—as well as fresh fruit, coffee, and a juice bar—with more fellowship afterwards.
The weather was a tad cold, but this didn’t hamper the wonderful time had by the brethren! There were many comments by attendees saying that the Family Weekend was well organized and that “everything went so smoothly, it was like a well-oiled team.” It ended around 3:00 Sunday afternoon to give everyone travel time for their return home.
The participants included brethren from the pastorates of Messrs. Rick Stafford, Glen Harrison, Daniel Friz, and Phil West, as well as from the Dallas and East Texas area. The messages were outstanding and the food and fellowship were exceptional. Our children and teens particularly enjoyed plenty of outdoor space to congregate and have a delightful time.
Charlotte Family Weekend
People from all over the East Coast and even Canada joined in the fun for the Charlotte Family Weekend, which ran December 24–25. The weekend was filled with excitement and enthusiasm for the various activities, as well as the building and strengthening of friendships new and old.
The event began with Sabbath services and an inspirational video message commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of the forming of the Global Church of God and then the Living Church of God. This message was followed by special music, a rousing performance of two selections sung by the Charlotte Family Weekend Choir. During the main message, Mr. Weston emphasized the need for us not to forget the things of the past. After the close of the service, Mr. Ames presented Mr. Weston with a commemorative crystal globe, honoring the Work God has done through His presiding evangelists over the last 30 years.
Later that evening, a delicious lasagna dinner was served so everyone could continue to fellowship. In the evening, a lively casual dance featured a variety of songs for all ages to enjoy.
On the following day, numerous activities included a silent bake sale and craft sale to browse. Artists of various styles and skills displayed their magnificent pieces of art; these included paintings, weavings, sketches, crocheted items, sewing projects, miniature art, and origami. Some artists even gave live demonstrations.
A morning of carnival-style games filled the gymnasium with people. Games such as balloon races, guessing the purpose of various hand tools, foam axe throwing, plinko, Nerf marksmanship, reading stories to children, and balloon animals were among the activities that the brethren enjoyed. Group games, like distinguishing fake news from real news after hearing absurd-sounding headlines, gave everyone an opportunity to participate and enjoy being together. After the lunch of hamburgers and hotdogs, many enjoyed chatting at the tables or playing and watching volleyball matches in the afternoon.
The Charlotte Family Weekend was a great success for all who came and joined in the fun. Brethren went home recharged after a fun-filled, inspiring, and encouraging weekend.
Kansas City Weekend Versus Freezing Temperatures
Despite a large winter storm affecting much of the country, 254 brethren from nine states braved freezing temperatures to attend the Kansas City Family Weekend on December 24–25. Mr. Michael Elliott conducted the Bible Study, Mr. Michael DeSimone spoke to 399 brethren (including some online attendees), and Mr. Mark Sandor provided a seminar. The thirtieth-anniversary message by Mr. Weston made the gathering even more special!
On Saturday evening, brethren feasted on a tasty buffet. Afterward, children, teens, and adults enjoyed dancing. Those who didn’t dance took the opportunity to fellowship. The Bible Olympics the next day opened with a flag ceremony. Family teams gathered under ten banners of various “tribes of Israel” to face ten spiritually and physically challenging events. The tasks ranged from sheepherding to placing animals on the ark. Brethren encountered other unique challenges that led to the final bronze, silver, and gold awards.
Many thanks to everyone locally and from Headquarters, as well as all the visitors, who made this Family Weekend possible and special.
Birmingham/Montgomery Family Weekend a Wonderful Success
The Embassy Suites hotel in Birmingham, Alabama, was the site of our regional Birmingham/Montgomery Family Weekend, December 23–25. The hotel has a huge atrium where the sunshine glistened through the skylight into a beautiful lobby, complete with a koi pond full of fish that young and old alike could enjoy feeding. On Friday, we enjoyed snacks throughout the day as many fellowshipped together, followed by a Bible Study—presented to 74 members present and online by our Regional Pastor Dan Hall—titled “Delighting in God’s Word.”
On the Sabbath, Mr. Hall spoke to 94 brethren present and online, giving a sermon titled “Lessons from the Book of Job.” After Sabbath services, we had a baptism, and later that evening, 80 of us enjoyed a Dinner/Dance with delicious food and much dancing.
Sunday was a day filled with games for kids and adults alike, and the highlight was Bingo. Many prizes were given out for Bingo winners, including Bibles, blankets, gift cards, and more.
The toughest part of the whole weekend was enduring one of the worst cold streaks Alabama has endured in recent years. The temperature on the Sabbath was 5°F—and it didn’t warm to more than 20°F the entire weekend.
Many said how much they enjoyed the weekend, while some even said it was the best they had attended. Thanks be to God for such a wonderful weekend with liked-minded people! What a treat!
Merrill Family Weekend
The Merrill congregation hosted its annual family weekend at the end of February. Just over 70 brethren from a half-dozen states were able to enjoy the warm—for Wisconsin in February—20-degree days and the fresh foot of snow that had fallen earlier that week. Mr. Mike DeSimone provided the Friday night Bible Study as well as the sermon for Sabbath services. The brethren enjoyed extra fellowship during the Sabbath followed by trivia games and a dance Saturday evening. The weekend concluded with a Sunday morning brunch and sledding.
The Merrill congregation has five adults and six children in regular attendance. They provided most of the organizing and planning of the weekend, but it was inspiring to see that all of the guests were also willing to serve by contributing to meals, setting up and taking down the hall, organizing children’s activities, giving donations, and performing other acts of service. It is spiritually refreshing to spend extra time with so many brethren who come with a desire to serve one another. We are already looking forward to next year!