Journal readers report on their
2004 feasting and fellowship
BARRIE, Ont., Canada--What a wonderful privilege it was to gather again with God's people to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in Barrie. I can honestly state, without reservation, that 2004's festival was one of the best ever!
It was made even more noticeably so by the relaxed, loving atmosphere resultant by rejoicing brethren congregated, for the first time in years, free from the shadow of condemnation under which we have worshiped for what has seemed like much too long.
Our celebration began on the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 29, with a service from 7:30 to 9 at the Days Inn on Byrne Street, where all services were held for the remainder of the Feast.
Ken Parker gave the sermonette, which focused upon "rejoicing at the Feast," and Charles Sutton delivered a sermon that might have been titled "The Holy Days Reveal God's Plan of Salvation." Both messages provided an inspiring start to a wonderful Feast.
Throughout the Feast we received teaching from Charles Sutton and Mr. Parker through daily sermons, which included "The Gospel of Jesus Christ," "Developing the Mind of Christ," "The Sabbath and Holy Days," "Fear Not, Little Flock; Christ Will Return For His Own," "Perfect Justice in Christ," "Living God's Way on Earth During the Millennium," "Fulfilled Prophecy" and "Going on to Spiritual Maturity."
The Bible studies, an interesting daily attraction, included "The Holy Days and the Spiritual Vision Their Celebration Supplies," "The Return of Christ," "Remaining Ever Wary of the Power of Satan," "Enemies of the Christian Church Throughout History" and "Christ-Centeredness."
Special music every day of the Feast was supplied by Sally Parker, Bob Trotter, Larry Crawford, John Borham, Anne Barichello and Marilyn Guy, who gave a variety of vocal and instrumental presentations.
Phil Hristov contributed hearty leadership in song, while Sally Parker and Bob Trotter provided piano accompaniment. Besides Ken Parker and Charles Sutton, Burt Russell, Sally Parker, Phil Hristov and Lynne Sutton each gave a sermonette or a children's story to complete a well-rounded package of daily services.
A glorious boat cruise aboard the Serendipity Princess was one of the week's highlights, occurring on Friday, Oct. 1. Many celebrants enjoyed the beauty of the brilliant autumn colors, the fellowship of friends and family and a sumptuous meal as they sailed up the Severn River and back to Port Severn in the late afternoon and early evening.
Oct. 2's Sabbath service included a blessing of the little children when Charlie and Lynne Sutton's grandson received a blessing and prayers were offered for his sanctification and future walk with Christ. "Grandpa" delivered a moving and memorable sermon that served to seal the occasion as special indeed.
An afternoon of pizza and bowling was shared on Sunday, Oct. 3, and a dinner-dance on the evening of Oct. 5 at the Hun Restaurant added much in the way of fun and fellowship.
Laughter and good food were on the menu at the Piccolo Forno Restaurant on another evening during this busy festival, and still another dinner provided a fond farewell for many at the Town & Country Steakhouse on the Last Great Day.
Daily luncheons were enjoyed at the Days Inn that added to the atmosphere of intimate fellowship and oneness.
Suffice is to say that we royally celebrated Feast 2004, and we went home with the fire and anticipation for the coming of God's Kingdom to earth rekindled afresh in our hearts.
Until next year we would like to thank all who joined us and all who participated and helped to make it such a success. We'll see you next year at
the Feast! God bless you, and maranatha from the Maranatha Church of God!
Slightly different conclusions
CAMP DAVIDSON, Ore.--The Sacramento (Calif.) Area Sabbath Bible Study, in association with Living the Way ( www.LivingTheWay.org), hosted the Feast of Tabernacles at Camp Davidson the evening of Sept. 29 through Oct. 7.
We have hosted Feasts previously at Incline Village, Nev., and at South Lake Tahoe, Felton and Mendocino, Calif.
The 2004 site, a peaceful woodland camp setting with full amenities, lies in the picturesque Cascade Mountains on the shore of beautiful Suttle Lake, 20 miles west of Bend near the town of Sisters.
The Feast this year saw a great deal of praise-and-worship music and praise dancing.
Most of the group stayed in the motel-style rooms. There was also RV parking available.
Camp activities included canoeing and kayaking, a challenge course, a ropes course, a rock-climbing wall, a heated pool, miniature golf, an indoor skate park and many other fun things. We also took a beautiful nature hike one day.
The daily service format consisted of lots of singing and circle dancing, solo music offerings, children's and teens' Scripture reading, the main message and interactive discussion. A beautiful sukkah was built on the first day of the Feast.
Meals were prepared for us by the camp staff.
This Feast site was a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city-based sites, utilizing an established camp location that provided an opportunity to rest and recreate among God's beautiful scenery.
Old and new friends bonded in a small setting where people could eat together, play together, worship together and really get to know each other.
One of the hallmarks of our Feast sites is the knowledge that honest and earnest Christians can study the same Bible and come to slightly different conclusions about things. In the open and relaxed environment of a small camping Feast, people can look at differences in understanding, refine their own understanding and deepen their faith and walk with God in free and open discussions.
Many people brought ideas and concepts to services, mealtimes, extra meetings and discussions that enriched our lives. It was a wonderful Feast, and
we hope you can join us the next time we sponsor a Feast site.
Faithfully seeking truth
ESTES PARK, Colo.--Yahweh our chodosh (holy) Father blessed us with the best (by 10 times) Feast ever. The weather was wonderful, in spite of two gentle-rainy days.
Virtually everyone stayed healthy, and, as if to prove to us that we were keeping the "Wonderful World Tomorrow," there was a small herd of elk that browsed on the grounds of the Bighorn Mountain Lodge on a daily basis. They seemed oblivious to our being there with them, but we oohed and aahed as they stood some 10 or 20 feet away.
Thirty-nine faithful truth seekers came together Oct. 1-8 in what everyone said was the most spiritually meaty, Spirit-filled Feast of Tabernacles ever.
The blowing of the shofar started every service, followed by praise-and-worship singing of brethren from California and Washington on the West Coast to North Carolina on the East.
"Lift up holy hands," the Scriptures say, and that we did. We often sang eight to 10 worship songs to Yahweh and Yahshua.
Topics included "A Day of Blessings" (when, after a shortened sermon on blessings, we went around the meeting room and blessed each other and especially our children).
Other topics were "The Kingdom Is Within You," "Spiritual Warfare," "How the Chodosh Spirit Works Through Our Spoken Words," "Watching" and "The Spirit in Man and of Yahweh."
Topics also included "The Visually Observed New-Moon Calendar," "50-Year Jubilee Cycles and the Reading of the Law (Deuteronomy 31:10-11) in 2005 A.D., Which Is the Next Sabbatical Year," "Tsiytsith" (tassels, fringes) and a lesson in "Basic Paleo Hebrew."
Also, we heard a "Panorama of Jacob's Trouble" (which began at Jacob's birth and continued through the mark of the beast) and "The Coming of Yahweh Our Father Pictured by the Last Great Day" (the eighth day of the Feast, showing the eighth 1,000-year day).
We had six baptisms, with two being new Feast-keepers and four being rebaptized in the name of Yahweh our Father, by the authority of Yahshua our Messiah. (Try it. You'll like it.)
All expressed their desire to return next year as Yahweh makes it possible.
Tape requests and correspondence can be sent to The Called of Yah/A Church of God, 7411 WCR 24H, Loveland, Colo. 80538, U.S.A., phone (970) 667-9203,
Peace, reconciliation, restitution
KERRVILLE, Texas--More than 800 enthusiastic brethren gathered at the Inn of the Hills Convention Resort in Kerrville to celebrate this year's Feast at one of the many sites sponsored by the United Church of God an International Association.
The beautiful weather and scenic views in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, with its rugged terrain and rolling hills of the Guadeloupe River Valley, provided a place for celebration.
Ken Giese of the Houston South congregation, regional pastor and assistant festival coordinator, gave the opening sermon. He contrasted today's world with a totally different one in the future, referring to a news story of 30 terrorists taking captive a school in Russia in September and killing scores of schoolchildren.
Much of Mr. Giese's message, along with an interview with Feast coordinator Jack Hendren of the Corpus Christi congregation, was featured in a news story in the local newspaper the following day.
Besides listening to the inspiring messages and a variety of special-music performers that included small and large choirs and instrumental ensembles, there were many other activities including a barbecue and western dance, tours, luncheons and great country music, a hymnfest, Bible studies and youth instructions and a "Country Fest."
In addition to messages from 12 festival speakers, an effective Feast video, I Will Return, was shown in which senior pastor for the Philippines Dave Baker of the Elimira, N.Y., congregation used the example of Gen. Douglas MacArthur to illustrate Christ's promise to return to liberate mankind and begin His millennial reign.
Much of the video's war footage can be seen in the nearby Fredericksburg National Museum of War of the Pacific, featuring Adm. Chester Nimitz and the George Bush Gallery, which many visited during the Feast.
Two senior retirees, Les McCullough of Big Sandy and Burk McNair of San Antonio, gave sermons picturing the festival's purposes. On the first day Mr. McCullough cited the lives of a fictitious family, the Browns, to personalize the prophecies of Christ's millennial reign. Mr. McNair used the Last Great Day to show how the world will reconcile to God.
A sobering sermon, "The State of the Church Before Tribulation," was given by Gary Petty of the San Antonio congregation. By going through the prophecies in Matthew 24-25, Mr. Petty showed the two conditions that will be extant in the church at that time.
He read about the dedicated, faithful, obedient members who were growing and developing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, caring and contributing to each other's needs, and the unresponsive members on the other side who let their love wax cold, betraying their brothers, not being willing to work or reconcile with others. Christ's coming was no longer a motivating factor in their lives. Instead of seeking peace and unity, they became conflict-oriented.
Many messages helped listeners visualize the great future God has planned.
Don Ward of Gilmer, Texas, in the final sermon, "Keys to Spiritual Survival," summarized the messages, which he said preached peace, reconciliation
LANTANA, Fla.--"Attitude!" was the theme this year as the Christian Church of God played host to the Feast of Tabernacles beginning at even on Sept. 30 and running through Oct. 8. These dates were based on the observed-crescent new moon as seen two weeks earlier in Jerusalem.
Attendees came from as far away as Ohio and Rhode Island in this country and Ontario, Canada. Attendance for services was about 20.
At daily services messages were presented by Neville Gilbert, Jim Hollands, Bill Livingstone and John Ireland, with occasional participation by the congregation in the form of scriptural reading and questions and comments. Sermon topics were keyed to the Feast and its lessons with the intent of serving meat in due season.
Festival musical accompaniment was provided by Mary Morelli on keyboard for congregational songs as well as for special music, for which she was joined on one occasion by Jennifer Swafford for a vocal duet.
This was much appreciated!
Special activities included a picnic at a park, an evening fellowship assembly and the building of a sukkah, or temporary dwelling.
The evening fellowship assembly was an intimate get-together that afforded us the opportunity to know and appreciate each other better as brethren took turns sharing their stories about how God brought them into His church.
Continuing what was begun here last year, several of the Feastgoers gathered at a local residence on the first day of the Feast and built a sukkah from freshly cut "goodly boughs."
As the Feast week progressed, festival celebrants observed and learned as the once-robust limbs and fronds dried and withered, just as occurred with the older generation of Israel during the 40 years' wandering in the desert.
Participants in the sukkah-building and fellowshipping came to appreciate that the sukkah experience is something God has given His people as a learning experience and a blessing.
A bonus blessing was the way the brethren all pitched in to help with the sukkah's construction out of freshly cut palm fronds and almond-tree
Big Sky festival
MISSOULA, Mont.--The Bitterroot Mountains of western Montana provided beautiful weather and a peaceful setting for the first annual Festival of Tabernacles hosted by the Association for Christian Development (ACD) and Kenneth Westby.
Twenty-two people were in attendance at this small, family-oriented site. Attendees came from the states of Washington, Michigan, Kansas, Louisiana, Virginia and Texas.
Presentations were made in a Bible-study and question-and-answer format by Mr. Westby, Robert McKibben, John Stickel, Glynn Mitchell and Merle Vines.
A daily children's Sabbath-school program was provided by Dr. Candace Mitchell and Kathrina Sharman. The children, accompanied by Candace on the guitar, provided a song service.
There were ample opportunities for fellowship including a welcome reception on the evening of the first day, fishing and shooting outings in the mountains and a fresh-salmon fish fry hosted by Dave and Kathrina Sharman of Des Moines, Wash.
Families enjoyed the splendor of Glacier National Park in northwest Montana on family day. We were particularly joyful to welcome Eyvind Westby to the family of God after his baptism in an icy Montana stream.
Everyone agreed that the inspiring messages on Christian responsibility to one's fellowman would provide help, strength and motivation in the year to
Generations at the Feast
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla.--What a wonderful Feast we had! God's Spirit was poured out on us all. It was evident by the beautiful weather we had and by the lack of any damage in our Feast area, even though the surrounding areas were hit hard and devastated by the hurricane.
Our Feast site, sponsored by the 7th Day Church of God of Knoxville, Tenn., had great sermons by godly men. We even had some father-and-son speakers, like Bill and James Faulkner and Frank and Jeff Zemlicka. What a blessing for father and son both to be in the church and tell others about God when so many are leaving God's truth. To have two or more generations stay in the faith is great!
This Feast had many families' generations together. Ours had four generations: Mark's mother, Karlyne; Mark; both our daughters and their husbands, Cheryl and Phil Miller and Cathy and Tony Vanwinkle (Tony was able to come only for the last weekend but was so warmly welcomed by all of the brethren that he is planning on coming for the whole time next year, praise God!); all of our grandchildren, Sarah, Justin and Emily (whom so many of you had prayed for last year when she was born premature and was in the hospital; God has surely blessed her with good health and she is now a year old and is up to 18 pounds!); my sister and brother-in-law, Linda and Tom Otwaska; and Phil Miller's mom, Audrey.
Sarah Miller had three grandmothers at this Feast. What a family reunion!
Ours was not the only one with more than one generation. The Faulkners had three generations, and Ron and Bonnie Ater had four generations, and we had some great news that the Zemlicka family will have three generations there next year because Jeff and Patti are expecting a baby next spring!
We saw lots of familiar faces and several new families. There were also a few who had never attended a Feast before.
There was such a peaceful, calm spirit at this Feast. There were no evil influences. Satan was bound and kept out of the camp. It was a fantastic family atmosphere.
We also had some great and educational Bible studies. We went through the book of Galatians and learned about some of the medical and biblical issues of purity.
We had beautiful music led by Paul Driemann, Randy Peoples and James Faulkner. We had wonderful special music too. Even my daughter Cheryl was brave enough to sing several times. We also found out that Briana Ault has been holding out on us. She has a knockout voice.
Paul Driemann led a prayer group every morning like he had last year, and we had many healings and answers to prayers.
We had one wedding, four baptisms and several child dedications.
We had a T-shirt contest. Many participants decorated their shirts with a "Family of God" theme. Our judges had quite a time coming up with first-, second- and third-place winners, they were all so good.
Eva Hale again hosted our fun show. We miss Hagan Hale but are surely glad that God has sustained Eva so she can be with us. Our fun show (and our lives in general) would not be the same without the wonderful spirit Eva has.
We shared our meals in the dining hall. What wonderful cooks we have in our group. No one went away hungry. Harley Brickhouse was always there to help with lunch and get things going for us. He went fishing and brought back enough fish for a delicious fry.
My thanks go out to the wonderful men and women who worked so hard in the kitchen preparing meals, cleaning up and getting groceries.
Marcia Driemann was always there to oversee and help the others who had no idea where things were in the kitchen. Marcia always had an answer and was always there to clean up and fill containers so they were ready for the next meal.
To Dora and John McCray: Thanks for the wonderful soup. People are still asking for the recipe. That turkey dinner was absolutely the best!
Gary Carlstrom, thanks for the delicious breakfast sausage you made. It even got Mark and me out of bed early just to have some.
Thanks to Sheree Kesler, who stayed and made shepherd's pie by herself so her mother and brothers and sister could go with us to Gulf World (sorry about the meat mix-up!). Thanks also to the teens who made pizza for us. It was delicious. I think pizza should be a new Feast tradition!
We also had a nice "sweethearts' night out" during which the Driemanns and Carrs agreed to baby-sit any of the children so the parents could have a night out. It was a great success and I think we may do it again next year.
The Faulkners hosted a game night again this year and had their karaoke TV with them, which was a real hit.
It was another wonderful Feast, the best one yet, but we say that every year. But they do keep getting better. I can hardly wait till next year.
For those of you who feasted in some other location, I hope your Feast was just as wonderful. We missed you and hope we will be together again soon.
Our prayers go out to those who were sick or hurting (physically or emotionally) and to those whose financial needs were not met so they could attend with us. I pray that God will heal and help all those in need so we may all become one again, the whole Body of Christ. Now, that will really be a blessed family-of-God reunion!
I hope many of you will be able to come to the Passover and Spring Feast. We will be at Big Ridge State Park in Norris, Tenn. We have the lodge and 13 bunkhouses, and cabins will be rented by the park for those who do not like the rustic camping experience.
Please contact us at P.O. Box 70635, Knoxville, Tenn. 37938, U.S.A., or (865) 925-8137 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information if you would
like to come.
Last Feast with Archie
RAPID CITY, S.D.--We had a good Feast of Tabernacles in Rapid City. My husband, Archie, had had a fall about a month earlier and had recovered quite well. He was also seeing a chiropractor to help with an injured but not broken arm, but he was somewhat weak. He did special music at the Feast.
When we got home Archie wanted to till the garden, chop the corn stalks and all, and I helped him.
He got sick one day, and we thought it might be the flu, and he didn't want to go to the doctor.
His race in this life ended shortly after when he died in his sleep with a heart attack.
We all believe he was ready and waiting for the resurrection.
Newlyweds at the Feast
SUNRIVER, Ore.--It has been a while since the Feast of Tabernacles, and we have been thinking of our brethren we enjoyed being with at Sunriver and those brethren who attended elsewhere. We hope that you are healthy and prospering in every way. It is sad we can't be with each other more often, but we can communicate, thanks to modern technology.
We have been busy outfitting our new home and settling into a new routine (being newlyweds and all). We were home only about a week before taking a trip to California primarily so that Debra could meet Al's mother, sister, brother and families before winter hits the Sierra Nevada.
Thanks to the timing of our trip, we were also able to attend one of the many seminars relating to personal evangelism being held across the United States as people request them.
This thought-provoking and motivating seminar was held near Sacramento, Calif., by Guy Swenson (former UCG elder). Thirty to 35 brethren were in attendance.
Also while in California we took the opportunity to visit Kings Canyon National Park and saw the General Grant sequoia tree, which is more than 2,000 years old.
Now that we are back home in Idaho, we have been motivated to plan to hold open Bible studies on Sabbath afternoons on a monthly or bimonthly basis, depending on interest shown.
We have invited our children and families and some brethren who are independent minded (not generally attending a corporate group) and may be interested.
We felt that Guy Swenson's seminar on personal evangelism that we attended while in California was so unusual and needed by God's children that we are proposing to sponsor a similar seminar in the Boise area.
With winter coming up, we look forward to spending a lot of time in our warm and cozy home near the fireplace delving into God's Word and reading a number of study papers that we have received from various brethren.
We appreciate your prayers with regard to our plans and activities. We look forward to hearing back from each of you and how you are doing.
Resist the devil
TYLER, Texas--Attendance varied from nine to 15 people who gathered under a hilltop pavilion in Tyler State Park for a Feast site coordinated by former Worldwide Church of God member Jerry Gentry of the Big Sandy area.
One of the featured speakers was Col. James "Bo" Gritz (U.S. Army retired). Col. Gritz--who was the most decorated Green Beret of the Vietnam War and whose part was played by Gene Hackman in the movie Uncommon Valor--gave an interesting message on resisting the devil and how the devil will keep hitting you at your weakest point.
Jerry filled in for Col. Gritz on his shortwave broadcast (see
www.bogritz.com) from the site because Col. Gritz was late in arriving because his recreational vehicle broke down.
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