Myrtle Beach, S.C.: John Bair, Bill Bratt, Ron Feaker, Dave Havir, Lyle Kerby, Dennis Mouland and Dale Pieper.
Rapid City, S.D.: Mark Frick, Bill Harkins, John Havir, Tim Lindholm, Neil McIver and Wynn Skelton.
Palm Beach, Aruba: Mark Gully, Reinhard Klett, Jim O'Brien, Bill Pack, David Roe and Ken Svehla.
Pastor Dave Havir invites Journal readers to keep up with plans for Big Sandy's 2006 Feast observances at the congregation's Web site, www.bigsandychurch.org. Dixon Cartwright, Big Sandy, Texas.
Feast for nontravelers
ELMHURST, Ill.--The independent Church of God United and Herald Ministries again sponsored a Feast site in Elmhurst, a suburb of Chicago.
The site was originally created to give those unable to travel to distant areas a place to come before God and rejoice, as we are commanded.
It has also become an alternative Feast site for people from all over the United States.
The Feast took place Oct. 18-25 at the Holiday Inn in Elmhurst. Attendance ranged from 30 to 80 people.
Speakers included Harold Cormany, Jeff Cormany, Ray Curtis and Wendell Wiese of Chicago area, Rod England of Colorado, Paul Burkholder and Ernest Istre.
The lunches were potluck by various groups.
A visit to the Field Museum was a highlight.
The site was open all day for discussions and snacks. Videos and movies were shown in the evening. Many people stayed at the Holiday Inn for all or part of the Feast.
There are plans to continue a Feast site in 2006 in the Chicago area. People can contact Jeff Cormany (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Wendell Wiese (email@example.com). Wendell Wiese, Hanover Park, Ill.
Quite a Feast
SAN ANTONIO, Texas--God's peculiar people Oct. 17-25 gathered again to rejoice before the Lord and celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in an observance sponsored by the Church of God San Antonio for the eighth consecutive year.
Temporary lodging for most attendees for the duration of the Feast was the Comfort Inn. Together we filled 45 rooms. Daily services and special events were held at the conveniently located Elks lodge directly behind the hotel.
Families representing four states began arriving Monday afternoon, Oct. 17. A welcoming and Feastworthy table spread with vegetable spring rolls, sandwiches and colorful fresh vegetables, catered by Absolutely Delicious, awaited Feastgoers.
Folks also enjoyed a variety of desserts and drinks while they got acquainted and fellowshipped with new friends and old.
At 8 p.m. Pastor Julian Cruz led a welcome service in which he encouraged everyone to especially focus on praising and worshiping God our Father through music and song, even as he oriented everyone to the special programs planned for the week ahead.
The theme song of this year's Feast, sung at the conclusion of each service, was "Here I Am, Lord."
Children, very important persons at the San Antonio Feast site, participated daily in the services by reading Scripture and offering their prayers.
A "Blessing Song" sung to the children by the congregation was also a daily part of the worship service. Thirteen children participated in the youth choir, led by Janie Strickland and Wayne Heinz. They performed lively songs for special music twice during this year's Feast.
On the first day, Julian Cruz gave the sermon, in which he articulated five main goals of this Feast site: (1) to learn to worship and please God, (2) fellowship, (3) becoming more Christlike, (4) becoming better servants and (5) evangelism.
In the evening, another absolutely delicious catered feast was served to all. This time the table was spread with Mexican-themed menu items such as tamales, chalupas, refried beans, nacho-tortilla chips, hot salsa and an impressive-looking seven-layer dip.
Traditional live mariachi music by Campanas de America, a 12-member ensemble known as "the best mariachi band in San Antonio," complemented the Mexican-themed Feast as the sponsoring congregation shared some of the cultural experiences and foods that make Texas, and San Antonio in particular, so
On day two, after the children's service and special music, Jeff Henderson, pastor of Believers in Christ Church of God in Redwood City, Calif., delivered an inspiring message. He effectively used the employer analogy of the "annual review" to make his point that we should judge and work to
correct our deficiencies now so that we won't have to be judged harshly later.
An interesting question posed by Mr. Henderson was: "If you were arrested and brought up on charges that you were a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"
After the service and after lunch, Pastors Henderson and Cruz led a beautiful baptismal service for Pam Hendrickson at the hotel's swimming pool. Several brothers and sisters witnessed and welcomed Pam into the Body of Christ.
In keeping with the country-western theme of the day, Wilbert Harkless taught a fun hour-long Texas-line-dancing class at the hotel just before the barbecue meal and country-western concert by a five-piece band known as Momentum. Several Feastgoers enjoyed dancing to the music.
On the third day, Thursday, Dan Johnson of Pasadena, Calif., gave a detailed sermon that began with the question, "How well do we know Jesus?" He pointed out that, even after they had hung around Jesus on this earth for three years, Jesus accused His own disciples of not knowing Him (John 14:9).
Thursday afternoon was designated "Family and Children Fun Afternoon."
Later, Spikey Mikey (Michael Cruz) performed a fun magic show that kept both children and adults laughing or amazed, followed by balloon sculpting, games and a piata.
On Friday, the fourth day, Terry McAdams of Fairfield, Texas, preached a sermon on remembrance and how we should keep in mind and always be thankful for all that God has done for us, is doing for us and will do for us.
He spoke about how our names and our deeds are recorded in God's own Book of Remembrance and how they can be erased if we forget God.
In the afternoon several teens and preteens gathered by the pool for an outdoor pizza party organized by Wayne Heinz. They enjoyed pizza from Pizza Hut, pop and swimming in the pool.
On the fifth day, Saturday, Chris Patton of Minneapolis, Minn., gave a sermon titled "The World Is Too Much With Us," in which he reminded everyone that the ways that seem right to man often end in death.
He encouraged us to come out of Babylon lest we partake in her plagues and to pray that we will be counted worthy to escape all that is about to come upon this earth (Luke 21:36).
A "Fun Show" was scheduled Saturday evening, with the highlight being a half-hour performance by the musical Halbrook family. Eighteen other volunteer performers followed with songs, piano recitals and poetry reading.
In lieu of services Sunday, the day was declared Focus On Your Family Day, a special time set aside for families to spend together making memories that will last a lifetime.
Pastor Julian encouraged families to take the opportunity to have a "peace conference" during this day, if needed.
Some families spent the day making memories at Fiesta Texas or Sea World attractions while others chose to spend time together at the Witte Museum, the San Antonio Botanical Garden or downtown San Antonio enjoying the Alamo and the River Walk.
The seventh day, Monday, was Youth Day, which was a highlight of the Feast because the youths are VIPs at the Feast in San Antonio.
After a second performance of special music by the Youth Choir, Wayne Heinz gave a sermon filled with wisdom and proverbs for everyone, but especially aimed at the youth.
The main purpose of his sermon was to remind everyone to remember who they are in Christ: children of the Living God, a royal priesthood, a royal family. He reminded us that with great power comes great responsibility, and that nobility is not defined by positions, but by our actions. He
encouraged all, but especially the youth, to gain wisdom and knowledge and understanding.
Another fun teen activity was organized by Mr. Heinz Monday afternoon at Dave & Buster's, a restaurant and entertainment center.
On Tuesday, the Last Great day, Pastor Jeff Henderson gave the final message about the meaning of the Last Great Day. He suggested that it is really more about a new beginning rather than simply the end of the Feast of Tabernacles.
One of the highlights of this day was a slide show of the Feast prepared and presented by John and Ann Van Westen. The show helped everyone recollect the wonderful memories created at this Feast site.
The Feast of Tabernacles 2005 concluded with the traditional, sentimental singing of "God Be With You Till We Meet Again," and finally with the Feast's theme song, "Here I Am, Lord." Total attendance was 186. Jody Patton.