Don't fence this Feast planner in

OCONOMOWOC, Wis.--John Merritt already knows the question people are sure to ask him: Why another Feast site?

Dr. Merritt and Friends of the Sabbath, which he and some friends founded four years ago, have announced a new Feast site for 1999 at Destin Beach, Fla.

"With the number of Feast sites now at an all-time high and continuing to grow," said Dr. Merritt, "there is certainly more variety and choice for the festival-observing believer than ever before. So why did Friends of the Sabbath decide to add to that array of choices?"

First, it is not because the others are deficient, he said.

"Indeed, the Feast is always a joy and inspiration, always a blessing from our Creator and Savior."

Nevertheless, the Friends organization thinks the brethren have not yet tapped into the dynamics of full participation by all who would attend the festival.

"Even among the array of organizations and fellowships sponsoring Feasts," he commented, "most believers still come to the Feast and go home year after year without active participation in festival services and worship.

"Although special seminars and lectures are increasing, the Feasts are still mostly a few preaching at the many."

Friends of the Sabbath, from its experiences in conducting seminars, thinks Feastgoers can do better.

"We feel we really can have a Feast that is fully participatory and interactive, not just somewhat," he said. "We plan to introduce a really different and Scripture-based participatory format."

The schedule, in a nutshell, involves no sermons. Feastgoers will hear short presentations from various speakers and participate in group and panel discussions. They will also enjoy ample free time in which to visit the many other Feast sites in the Destin area, if they so desire.

The second reason for another alternative is that most Feast services, like most Sabbath services, are copies of traditional Protestant church-service formats, said Dr. Merritt, except that they take place on different days.

"So much of our true biblical worship heritage is unknown to even long-time Feast-keepers," he said. "Friends of the Sabbath knows from our wide-ranging contacts that there is so much more that can be added to the Feasts to deepen the spiritual experience of the Feasts.

"We think we can add a really meaningful alternative to the passive-spectator, Protestant service model so widely available."

So if you're a spiritual cowboy or cowgirl, explorer, pioneer or adventurer, ride along with John Merritt and friends on the white Florida beaches this fall beginning the evening of Sept. 24.

Dr. Merritt uttered one last comment as he rode off into the sunset, "Don't fence me in."

For more information call (414) 567-6488 or write

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