LCN Article
Food, Fun, and Fellowship at Family Weekends

March / April 2024

Charlotte Family Weekend

The Charlotte Headquarters congregation hosted its annual Family Weekend from December 22–25. The kickoff was a Friday evening Bible study by Mr. Richard Ames on the epistle of James.

Sabbath activities included a hymn-sing and a presentation on how the Tomorrow’s World telecast is produced, which included previewing an exciting new telecast, “2024 in Bible Prophecy,” publicly aired the following week. Mr. Gerald Weston gave the sermon at the afternoon Sabbath service. The attendance at services was 511, which included approximately 240 visitors from across the U.S, Canada, and beyond. Following the Sabbath, we enjoyed a lasagna dinner and dance.

Sunday included morning seminars on friendliness, meeting people new to us, and the importance of engaging in live, in-person interactions with family and friends. Afterward, we enjoyed a lunch of hamburgers and hotdogs, followed by group activities involving attendees of all ages. Two traditions displaying the varied talents of our brethren were maintained with our bake sale and crafts sale. One special and new addition to the weekend was color draping, where attendees learned what colors of clothing look best on them.

The finale on Monday morning included volleyball games as well as games for young children and those who are still young at heart. It was a jam-packed weekend of great fellowship, teaching, and joyous celebration of our Church family.

Alabama Family Weekend

On December 22–24, congregations in Alabama—along with 33 visitors from other areas—enjoyed a Family Weekend at the Embassy Suites in Hoover, Alabama. Fellowship began on Friday, when more than 50 brethren came together for an afternoon of bowling. Afterwards, we enjoyed a meal in a private dining room and a lot of time getting to know one another, including Mr. Dexter Wakefield and his wife Marcia, who spent the weekend with us.

On the morning of the Sabbath, Mr. Wakefield gave a Bible study titled “Why We Don’t Keep the Sacrifices,” which was followed by a brief question-and-answer session. Mr. Wakefield also gave the sermon in the afternoon, titled “The 7,000-Year Doctrine.” The Sabbath service was attended by 109 brethren, including members over the phone and online.

The Sabbath service was followed by a very fine dinner attended by about 85, at which many dressed in attire representing different decades, extending from biblical days to the 2000s (the 1920s seemed to be most popular). It was great to see our children wearing outfits from the various decades, and they seemed to really enjoy it. After dinner, we all enjoyed a wonderful time dancing to music from various decades. Everyone obviously had a lot of fun, especially our little ones, who seem never to run out of energy as they dance the night away. Some of us who are not quite so young definitely felt it the next morning, however!

On Sunday we played various games, with cornhole and bingo being the highlights. One member had never played cornhole before, but really excelled against every opponent—with a smile! We had plenty of gifts to give to the winners of bingo, which included some of our little ones who had great joy in participating, and especially in winning. This was indeed a very fine weekend, and it was obvious that everyone enjoyed this time together. Some talk for next year’s Family Weekend is already in the air, confirming that this one was indeed a wonderful time. We thank our God and Savior for giving us this time to spend together, fellowshipping as one happy family!

Kansas City Family Weekend

The Kansas City area faced the challenge of organizing a weekend that would truly serve the entire family. David and Sarah Manning came up with a creative theme (the Oregon Trail), and the combined efforts of brethren who added their time and talents made the event happen. Families traveled from many U.S. states, as well as from Canada. God blessed the winter weather with mild temperatures and no snow, facilitating safe travel.

Friday activities included family sports. Later that evening, Mr. Bobby Jacques conducted the Bible study, addressing, for the benefit of our youth, the issue of war and military service.

On the Sabbath, approximately 350 brethren attended services, with 100 listening online. Mr. Stephen Elliott spoke concerning marriage and family. After dinner, the brethren tested their knowledge of the Oregon Trail by playing a Kahoot trivia game. To cap off the evening, young and old enjoyed a dance.

Activities the next day began with a seminar stressing the importance of preparation from our youth, conducted by Michael Elliott. Since several pioneer travel routes began from Independence, Missouri, it was fitting that Sunday’s activities continued to revolve around the Oregon Trail theme. Some examples of rigorous “stops” along the way revealed how well we could hunt game for food, rope cows and horses, stack hay bales, change wagon wheels, pull a prairie schooner across a river, hammer nails, and even empty snakes out of boots.

Many commented that one of the main reasons for coming to such an event was for the benefit of our children, teens, and young adults. The Kansas City congregation, with its sizable number of dedicated youths, provided opportunities that are not readily available in smaller areas. Our older brethren experienced the same blessings and felt very much included. Thanks to all who made this outstanding weekend possible.

Trinidad Family Weekend

Trinidad brethren enjoying a tasty mealEighty “Trini” brethren spent December 24–26 at the Turning Point Campsite in St. Joseph, Trinidad, and another 19 came and spent Monday with us. The location was very peaceful and indeed a great spot to get away from the chaotic festivities happening elsewhere. There was lots of time for fellowship and relaxation among the members, with board games, dominoes, and quite a few card games taking place. We had a Bible study on Sunday evening, and on Monday evening a movie followed by a discussion. Lots of time was spent in the pool on Monday afternoon. The kitchen staff provided us with top-quality meals, as well as lots of fresh fruit, fruit juices, and iced tea throughout.

The campsite is set on the side of a small hill, and a number of brethren of all ages woke up well before sunrise to use the incline for exercise—making several trips up and down. Some dumbbells and skipping ropes were brought in, and some used these as part of their routine as well. This was not a planned activity, but it was certainly pleasing to see brethren making use of the opportunity to fellowship and get physical exercise. The biggest “complaint” was that the two-night stay was simply too short!

As is our custom in God’s Church, we left the facility as clean as we could, and we also donated some brooms and mops. This apparently made quite an impression on management, with the caretaker’s wife using terms such as “phenomenal” and “one in a million” to describe our efforts. Evidently, this came after a string of bad experiences with other groups. We are pleased to have been able to shine the light of the Gospel of Christ in this way.

Little Rock Family Weekend

Bright sunshine welcomed members and guests on a cool Friday afternoon for the launch of the Sherwood, Arkansas, Family Weekend. Visitors from Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and Texas gathered for fun and fellowship. The enticing aroma of Italian food greeted those entering the hall, which was festooned with Italian décor. A delicious spaghetti dinner was served with salad and garlic bread. After such wonderful physical food, it was time for spiritual fare. The Bible study by Mr. Phil West, entitled “Developing Philadelphia Character,” stressed three attributes of godly character that will assure our deliverance in the difficult times to come: developing sincere love for the brethren, understanding where we fit in the government of God, and focusing on our individual part in doing the Work of God.

After a restful Sabbath morning, everyone gathered at the church hall at 1:00 p.m. for a hymn-sing. This set a positive tone for an enjoyable day of Christian fellowship. Mr. Randall Davis presented a motivational sermonette entitled “We Are Where We Are for a Reason.” He explained that what is important to us determines who and where we are in life, what we truly value affects what we accomplish, and how we invest our time, energy, emotions, money, and special skills reveals our character. He admonished that we use these resources to serve others. Special music was given by Mrs. Shelby Vice, who played and sang Psalm 84, as composed by Caroline Cobb. The sermon, brought by Mr. Davy Crockett, was entitled “How God Has Used the Family: Past, Present, and Future.” In person and online, 112 brethren enjoyed the special Sabbath services.

After the Sabbath, the hall décor was changed to a Southwest motif and the ladies presented a delicious taco dinner. A talent show followed. Eight numbers were performed for an enthusiastic audience: three by preteen singers, one by a teenager playing and singing a song of her own composition, and four numbers played and sung by members of the band, which included a piano, two guitars, and a bass guitar. It was a varied program with something enjoyable for everyone. Afterward, there was great participation in games for all age groups.

The fun resumed Sunday morning at 10:30 with a scrumptious brunch of pancakes, eggs, beef bacon, and hash browns served to an appreciative crowd. Then, everyone’s attention turned to playing bingo, which included many nice prizes that had been donated for the event. The game was great fun, and the enthusiasm and fellowship were a fitting finish to a very enjoyable Family Weekend in Little Rock.

Texas Family Weekend

Texas Family WeekendOur annual Texas Family Weekend at Hidden Pines Venue, a secluded 15-acre parcel of land near Mineola, Texas, was a total success again this year, with 206 attending in person and another 94 livestreaming, for a total attendance of 300 for Sabbath services. Mr. Glen Harrison gave an inspiring sermon titled “Man of God,” followed by a delicious Italian-themed dinner consisting of spicy Romano chicken, spaghetti with beef sauce, green beans, Caesar salad, a garden salad, and garlic bread, as well as lovely desserts! After sunset, we had a talent- and fun-show and dance. On Sunday morning, 174 attended the Bible study given by Mr. Marshall Moluf on the armor of God. That was followed by a Sunday brunch of eggs, beef sausage, beef bacon, biscuits, gravy, fresh fruit, coffee, a juice bar, and more fellowship. There was also a cornhole tournament and gaga ball for the kids—all indoors, as the weather was cold. But since it was toasty inside, the outside temperatures didn’t hamper the wonderful time had by the brethren at all!

Many attendees commented that the Family Weekend was well organized and that “It was like a mini-Feast.” We wrapped it up around 3:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon to allow everyone to get a good start returning home. The weekend attendance included members from Texas and Louisiana, as well as others who came in from farther away. The messages were outstanding, and the food and fellowship were exceptional! It was clearly a delightful and spiritually focused time for all attendees.

Jacksonville Family Weekend Campout

Jacksonville Family CampoutForty-eight of your spiritual brothers and sisters enjoyed a beautiful weekend (December 22–24) together at Camp Chowenwaw, located just outside of Jacksonville, Florida. The accommodations included seven cabins, a private dining hall, and a large firepit that created an enjoyable atmosphere for even the most inexperienced campers. The theme of the weekend was the “elementary principles” listed in Hebrews 6:1–2.

The weekend began with a covered-dish meal of chili, followed by a segmented Bible study given by four different ministers on principles listed in Hebrews 6:1–2 (repentance, faith, baptism, the laying on of hands, and eternal judgment). A Sabbath brunch provided a bit more time for rest and relaxation in God’s creation. The messages at Sabbath services also covered the “elementary principles,” with Mr. Jack Lucas giving a sermonette discussing resurrection from the dead and Mr. Ryan Dawson giving the sermon on faith in God and going on to maturity.

The weekend included additional activities focused on growth and building bonds with our spiritual family, such as a workshop on song-leading basics for the men. Saturday night’s activities included three rounds of Bible Play-Doh Pictionary, followed by a hymn-sing to wind the evening down.

It was truly an inspiring, spiritually recharging weekend. The only thing warmer than the weather (which was in the mid-50s Fahrenheit at night and saw a high of 73 during the day) was the family atmosphere produced by all who attended!

The preceding Family Weekend reports were created, compiled, and edited with the help and support of J. Davy Crockett III, Ryan Dawson, Rand Millich, Paul Shumway, Gary Stein, John Strain, and Anthony Stroud.

—Editorial Staff