Indiana church focuses with fair and food

TERRE HAUTE, Ind.--A Church of God congregation has involved itself in something a little unusual for a Church of God congregation: a trade fair of sorts involving itself and several community-service organizations in the church's building.

The Terre Haute congregation of the United Church of God sponsored an exhibit called Community Focus, in the format of a trade fair, in the building it owns at 1403 Poplar.

The fair involved 15 "booths," said elder Jeff Osborn of Fillmore, Ind., a member of the congregation. The booths were folding tables adorned with pieces of literature and other items the exhibitors gave to visitors.

It all happened on a Saturday night after Sabbath services April 21.

"It was a success on multiple fronts," Mr. Osborn told The Journal April 25. "It opened up our church to the community a little more, letting them come and see who and what we were. And, of course, we had a lot of people picking up UCG literature."

It was also successful, he said, because it included a free-spaghetti supper, and some of the people partaking of the sustenance looked like they hadn't had a square meal in a while.

The exhibit was sponsored jointly by the Terre Haute UCG and the decades-old Greater Terre Haute Church Federation. Exhibiting along with the congregation were the Salvation Army, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Habitat for Humanity, Crisis Pregnancy Center and Lighthouse Mission. Also exhibiting was LifeNets, a ministry operated by Victor Kubik of Indianapolis, Ind., and friends. Mr. Kubik is pastor of the Terre Haute church. LifeNets, among other activities, ships donated items to victims of disasters in other countries.

When asked about the advisability of a COG congregation interacting with other groups, including churches such as the Salvation Army, Mr. Osborn replied that "I have no problem personally in going shoulder to shoulder with another congregation or congregations that serve the community. To have excluded those groups would have been splitting hairs."

Mr. Osborn, who is not a UCG employee, lives with his wife, Joan, and son, Jake, 14. The Osborns' daughter, Teri, 19, attends DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.

The Terre Haute congregation meets each Sabbath at 12:30 for a Bible discussion and 2:30 for services.

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