Congregation sponsors weekend of sermons, songs and seminars
BIG SANDY, Texas--"One of the biggest needs among the Church of God is Christian fellowship, said Dave Havir, pastor of the Church of God Big Sandy. So the congregation here plays host to the brethren each year for its Family Fellowship Weekend.
This year's event, Dec. 23-24, included a special-music service, a church service, three meals, six seminars and two family activities.
"The weekend provided excellent sermons and seminars," said the pastor, "and people enjoyed the opportunity for extended fellowship."
Sound of music
The first activity was a special-music service at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The congregation and guests heard 70 minutes of melodies coordinated by Karl Wilson of Tyler, Texas. Here is a synopsis of the program:
nA choir from Tulsa, Okla., sang two selections to open the service. Ray Kurr of Mounds, Okla., directed the choir. Other members of the choir, all from Tulsa, were David Andrews, Evie Andrews, Jamie Andrews, Natalie Andrews, Diana Davis, Fran Hope, Derinda Smith and Lucille Smith.
At 2 p.m. the church service began. Cathy Elliott of Longview and the choir from Tulsa provided special music during the service. Two men delivered sermons: Tony Stith of Zimmerman, Minn., and Dennis Mouland of Palisade, Colo.
Mr. Stith spoke about helping the fatherless. Not only did he provide information about the effects within society of fatherlessness, he described his experience of growing up without a father. He gave practical advice about how to help people in those circumstances.
Mr. Mouland spoke about the need for Christians to show compassion. He explained that Christians are regularly tested by how they deal with people inside and outside of the Church of God. He likened a congregation to a spiritual hospital and noted the irony of many Church of God congregations having what he called "bouncers" at the door. He likened that practice to the concept of having bouncers at a hospital emergency room who would talk about illness but would not let the sick inside to be helped.
According to Mr. Havir, tapes of the sermons will go automatically to subscribers of the monthly audiotapes from the Church of God Big Sandy.
At 4 p.m. the audience participated in a potluck meal. Fellowship continued for hours.
At 7 p.m. the Family Variety Show began in the main auditorium, with Mr. Stahl coordinating it. Julie Wilkins of Hawkins, Texas, had organized the refreshments. Twenty-five acts included vocal solos and ensembles, other musical presentations, gymnastic routines and a variety of humorous presentations.
The age of the performers ranged from 15-month-old Jacob Wilson performing sleight of hand to 74-year-old Mr. Edelbach playing the hurdy-gurdy.
Beginning at 8 o'clock Sunday morning, volunteers from the congregation served breakfast in the building to their guests. Tat Tomes of Lindale, Texas, coordinated this meal.
From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. seminars took place in the classrooms in the building with the overall theme of "Building Godly Relationships." Mr. Havir, as moderator, made a few opening comments about loving one's neighbor as oneself. He mentioned that private victories in life precede public triumphs. He introduced the speakers:
While the seminars were occurring in the classrooms, volunteers were readying the main auditorium for the evening's activities.
At 4 p.m. the congregation and guests partook of a chili supper. Michele Mischnick of Hawkins had organized this meal.
At 6:30 p.m. the congregation served as hosts of a family dance. Melodee Overton of Hawkins coordinated decorations, Carl Akins of Big Sandy set up the dance floor, and Mrs. Skelton organized refreshments.
"Many of us from surrounding areas greatly appreciate the hospitality of our friends and the attitude of service in the congregation in Big Sandy," commented Mark Gully of Waco, Texas.
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