Pastor wants annual event to be a healing thing

By John Warren

The Joplin, Mo., congregation of the Living Church of God played host in February to church members who say they had a great time at the fourth annual event. Guests came from such far-flung places as California, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas.

Karl Beyersdorfer, church pastor for Living in Joplin, reported on attendance and activities.

"We had 183 in attendance for Sabbath services," he said, "and there were 210 at the dance. As part of the weekend activities, the local congregation provides a free sit-down meal. We had people in attendance from Worldwide, United, Living and Church of God Big Sandy. We try to make this a healing thing."

Some traveling to Joplin, in the southwest corner of Missouri, for the weekend stay in condominiums rented for $45 per night while many others found lodging with local brethren.

Joni Mischnick of Hawkins, Texas, went to the Joplin weekend this year for the first time.

"I went to meet up with old friends," she told The Journal. "I met a lot of new people too."

Commenting on the costume ball, Miss Mischnick said she saw "more costumes at the dance than any other I have ever attended. Even Shrek and the donkey [characters from a movie] were there. One whole family went as one of the characters from Shrek."

On Sunday the attraction was basketball. This year five men's teams and two women's squads from "30 to 40" congregations participated in the tournament, said Mr. Beyersdorfer.

Teenager Ryan Francis of Big Sandy, who traveled to Missouri with a group of friends, said basketball was the best part of the weekend activities for him.

"I was put on the Joplin team, and we ended up being the winning team."

Next year the plan is to expand the tournament to include peewee basketball: 8- to 12-year-olds.

Mr. Beyersdorfer said the weekend, which is meant to serve brethren besides just the Living Church of God, is "our way to serve."

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