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Everybody wins at Winter Family Tournament
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Everybody wins at Winter Family Tournament
By Dixon Cartwright

LEXINGTON, Ky.--Some 600 Church of God members of all ages gathered in and near the Griffin Gate Resort Marriott Inn Dec. 22-25, 2006, for the annual winter fellowship event sponsored by congregations in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Lexington.

Officially advertised as the Winter Family Tournament and referred to by many Church of God members as the Winter Family Weekend, it was a project of the Church of God Cincinnati and Church of God Lexington, both pastored by Jim O'Brien of West Chester, Ohio.

Activities included seminars for all ages, story times for kids, plenty of singing and playing of musical instruments, a church service on the Sabbath, food, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, soccer, flag football, board and card games (including spit on your neighbor) and family dances.

Tournament winners

The Journal checked afterwards with organizer Mr. O'Brien to ask him who won.

"Won what?" he asked.

This writer for The Journal explained that, since he was writing an article about the Winter Family Tournament, it would be appropriate to include the names of the winners of the tournament in the article.

Mr. O'Brien said that, even though participants played plenty of games--basketball and volleyball and more--he didn't know who had won.

"I'm sure there were winners," he said, "but I couldn't tell you who they were because, really, we just play the games for fun. It's not really a competitive thing. We just call it a tournament because it's always been called a tournament."


There may have been no detectable tournament winners, but there were plenty of seminar speakers, and they were as follows (in alphabetical order):

  • Lenny Cacchio of Lee's Summit, Mo., reporting on progress in the Church of God Kansas City, including the addition of 15 attendees in the past year.

  • Dixon Cartwright of Big Sandy, publisher of The Journal, speaking on freedom of the press, or lack of it, in the Churches of God.

  • Ron Dart of Whitehouse, Texas, director of Christian Educational Ministries, talking about the need for a personal curriculum for Bible study and "correcting your personal creed."

  • Pam Dewey of Allegan, Mich., founder, with husband George, of Oasis Ministries, speaking on Christians' mission from God and breathing life into efforts to serve God.

  • Chris Gregor of Conyers, Ga., making a presentation about fantasy literature and the Christian faith.

  • David W. Moore of Keytesville, Mo., an elder of the Church of God 7th Day denomination based in Meridian, Idaho, presenting insights into the biblical metaphors of "salt" and "light."

  • Stacey Seelig of Cincinnati, reporting on her recent experiences as a teacher at Legacy Institute in Thailand.

  • Trish Svehla of Downers Grove, Ill., explaining how to create a successful life profile.

Two people who didn't conduct seminars but spoke in other capacities were as follows:

  • Dave Havir of Big Sandy, pastor of the Church of God Big Sandy, who delivered a sermon during Sabbath services that included a dramatization of the parable of the prodigal son.

  • Bill Jacobs of Albuquerque, N.M., founder with his wife, Elaine, of LifeResource Ministries, delivering the second of two Sabbath sermons, speaking on Jesus' suffering, sacrifice and glorification.

Best tournament ever

After the "tournament," organizer Mr. O'Brien told The Journal that the get-together was "the best we've ever had of that nature."

"We had no problems," he said. "The young people are absolutely fantastic young people. They govern themselves. We don't have to supervise them. And the Sabbath services were outstanding."

For information about future events sponsored by the Cincinnati and Lexington congregations, visit, write Mr. O'Brien at P.O. Box 1811, West Chester, Ohio 45071, U.S.A., or call him at (513) 755-0040.

See page 1 for a report on the conference of Church of God leaders that took place during the tournament activities.

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