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Journal readers report on their 2004 feasting and fellowship (Part 3)
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Journal readers report on their
2004 feasting and fellowship
(Part 3)
The following are Feast of Tabernacles reports readers have sent to The Journal. This is the first installment of reports covering the 2004 festival. They are in alphabetical order by Feast-site location.


Feast in the Philippines

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines--It was an interesting trip from beginning to end. The trip over was a direct 14-hour flight starting Friday night, and I got to Manila Sunday morning, totally missing Saturday. Talk about disorientation!

Then there were the days in the sweltering, no-air-conditioning high humidity of the low valleys. Everything is green and lush. Mango trees are huge. I saw lots and lots of orchids growing and rice and rice and rice, in growing fields and on the sides of the roads drying.

Then it was off to Baguio City a mile up in the mountains of northern Luzon and the refreshingly comfortable temps where no heating or air conditioning is needed. That is where I could celebrate and observe the Feast of Tabernacles. There I met many kind and friendly Filipinos and Filipinas who appeared to really like me and even enjoyed my antics on "dance night" and "videoke night."

I played one classical-guitar piece on the Last Great Day, and the whole group seemed to have truly enjoyed it.

I visited an orchidarium (seems everyone has orchids) and an antique weaving shop where all is done by hand on ancient looms, just like my eldest aunt used to do in Portugal. I tasted fruit I did not know by names I can't repeat that tastes pleasant and delicious yet is difficult to describe.

Then back to the low, hot valleys for a couple of days. The flight back was at about the same time: 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, only this time I got to San Francisco on the same Sunday at 7:10 p.m. I got to see the sun set two times on the same day! I am still recovering from that. Jose Luis de Andrade, San Francisco, Calif.

Dust on the scale

BANNER ELK, N.C.--From Sept. 30 through the Last Great Day, Oct. 7, in accordance with the regular Jewish calendar, the Church of Jesus Christ Sabbath Day held a highly interactive, family-style Feast of Tabernacles at majestic Sugar Top ski resort in Banner Elk.

An average of 35 people from several states attended each day.

All the services opened with the speaker asking the people for prayers of thanksgiving or prayer requests before he gave the opening prayer.

Carolyn Nix, wife of pastor Carl Nix, held a woman's seminar starting at 7 on Friday night, and at 9 the men came to check on us and shut down the PA system for the night. They could not believe we were still going strong, but we had to just cut off our discussion because of the time because everyone needed to be up early the next morning for services.

On the evening after the weekly Sabbath Carl Nix introduced us to Bible trivia. The men teamed up against the women, and the women won that game by one question.

Two nights later we teamed up again and the men beat the women by one question. Bruce Prince kept talking about how tough the women were when it came to Bible trivia.

After services on Monday the Tennessee brethren sponsored a church picnic for all on the grounds of Lees-McRae College. Arden Taylor cooked two beef briskets, and Grace Davis made the barbecue sauce, the best barbecue I have had since Kansas City. Everyone attended and brought a favorite dish to complete the meal. The love and open family atmosphere were inspiring, and we left the picnic a happy group of people.

On Tuesday night the church sponsored a fun night. We were a small group of about 35 people, and almost everyone participated. The emphasis was on having fun rather than being professional.

This group has the most special music of any church I have attended. Gary Koonz, music director, sang a beautiful medley of hymns at services.

Wednesday night we had an interactive Bible study on keeping the Sabbath. The input from the audience was a considerable part of the discussion. Although we did not agree on all aspects of this subject, we had a great discussion and displayed great maturity in our disagreement.

This was my 35th Feast. If I took all of my past Feasts and put them on one side of a scale and this Feast on the other side of the scale, all past Feasts would be like dust on the scale when compared to the love, involvement and family atmosphere of this Feast.

This year we kept the Feast by spending it almost totally with the brethren in some activity. In times past it has been a vacation, but this year we learned to keep the Feast. There is difference, you know.

The Church of Jesus Christ Sabbath Day plans to keep the 2005 Feast at this same facility in Banner Elk. If you are interested in a family-style Feast with highly encouraged involvement of the people, then write P.O. Box 1363, Woodruff, S.C. 29388, U.S.A., for more information, or write or . Carole Rains, Andrews, N.C.

Joyful Feast

BIG SANDY, Texas--About 200 joyful Feastgoers celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles at the Church of God Big Sandy Sept. 29 through Oct. 6.

The festival opened from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, with a hospitality fellowship prepared by Kim Skelton.

Daily services included a potluck meal on the first and last days of the Feast. Services included Scripture readings by Ed Liebrock, Tom Stahl, John Rhodes, Rick Sherrod, Walter Warren, Bruce Graham and Jim Moran.

The brethren presented special-music selections at each service.

Delivering sermons were Reg Killingley, Wes White, Dave Havir, Ed Mitchell, John Warren, Wayne Cole and Wynn Skelton.

Teens' and children's classes were presented by Reesa Bearse, Angela Dunnam and Kathy McCommon.

Other activities were a variety show emceed by Jacob Sutherland, a senior citizens' luncheon planned by Janice McKee, an all-comers' luncheon prepared by Julie Wilkins, a game night hosted by Tim and Angela Dunnam and a golf tournament coordinated by Dan Warren.

Each morning Sharon Burgin and a host of helpers provided a hospitality hour during which everyone could enjoy food and fellowship. John and Darlene Warren, Big Sandy, Texas.

Small but warm

COLLINGWOOD, Ont., Canada--The Feast of Tabernacles at Collingwood was sponsored by Church of God Outreach Ministries and hosted by the Canadian Church of God Toronto.

A small but warm and enthusiastic group of people kept the Feast here at the Toronto Ski Club. There were 65 registered, with a high attendance of 45. Visitors from other sites also came frequently.

Recognition must be given to Len Labunetz and the Toronto church for the warm welcome and great planning they did for events that gave everyone the opportunity to fellowship and enjoy good food.

Messages were varied and uplifting. Pat Dennis presented four sermons and two Bible studies. Bill Rollins and John Shavers completed the sermon schedule with video messages, while Donald Dow, John Barbaro and Harold Wright filled the sermonette slots.

Sheila Merchant and Aletha Dennis led songs, while a variety of musical talent, including the children, supplied special music. Rodrigue Therault was responsible for recording the services.

The four children in Sabbath school were a joy to work with. This was their first Feast, and they asked if they could build a festival booth.

The children gathered branches and pine boughs with the help of their mother. Then on Sunday afternoon, with the help of Aletha Dennis, Alfred Fargher and their mother, Ann, the Bouzinenos children built a booth behind the meeting hall.

No nails were used. Everything was lashed with twine.

Included with the booth was a fire pit with kettle for cooking, a mat for reclining inside the booth, a "palm tree" (made from a birch log with red leaves lashed to the top) and squashes and gourds.

The booth was dismantled after sunset on the Last Great Day after many photos were taken.

For the children to have a memorial of their first Feast, they used class time to build individual booths to take home.

Included in this activity were four visiting children. On the last day the children sang "This Little Light of Mine" and gave everyone present a small candle as a reminder to let one's light shine throughout the coming year.

Activities included a pizza dinner and hymn singing after services on the first day, a steak dinner (with the steaks cooked to perfection by Rod Therault and delicious side dishes provided by all those who attended) on Monday, the Fun Night on Tuesday and a potluck on Wednesday evening.

Refreshments were always available after services, and most took advantage of the opportunity to fellowship and get to know one another in a relaxed atmosphere.

Apart from the activities at the meeting hall, the area provided opportunities for a boat tour on beautiful Georgian Bay, golfing, horseback riding, scenic cave exploration and "treetop walking" on 10-inch-wide bridges suspended as close to the treetops as possible.

For those with a sweet tooth, there was a Ben & Jerry's ice-cream shop and a Chocolate Factory.

If you like intimate Feast settings with emphasis on Christian fellowship and a relaxed atmosphere, you might want to plan to attend this Feast site next year. You'll enjoy the warm welcome you'll receive. Pat Dennis, Coffeyville, Kan.

Spiritual tabernacle

ESTORIL, Portugal--Coming from Portugal, Belgium, Australia, England, Scotland, Canada and the United States, 100 Worldwide Church of God brethren celebrated the festival for eight full days of services and activities Sept. 30 through Oct. 7.

Located on the "Portuguese Riviera" a short distance from Lisbon, the loving brethren of Portugal hosted the site at the beautiful resort Club do Lago.

Each day had a specific theme such as "Spiritual Tabernacle," "Christ Is Our King" and "Christ's Missionaries."

Sermons and sermonettes were given by the local pastor, Jose Ribeiro, European director Donat Picard, Robin Jones, Gene Hogberg and others.

We enjoyed group dining and an excellent WCG members' "Talent Night." We savored fado music and delightful Portuguese cuisine in a tavern within Lisbon's ancient Alfama district.

We also toured the UNESCO World Heritage town of Sintra and experienced the mysterious Quinta da Regaleira, with its bizarre labyrinth of grottoes and dark passageways.

All who participated in the festival expressed joy over the peaceful fellowship and the loving unity we enjoy thanks to our gathering together annually during the Festival of Tabernacles. Ron Guizado Los Angeles, Calif.

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