Observers of Feast 2002 wrap up their annual reports
Following are the final reports Feastgoers have sent to The Journal on their 2002 (and 1958) Feasts of Tabernacles. For more reports, see the September, October and November issues.
BIG SANDY, Texas--In 1958 I participated in the Feast of Tabernacles in Big Sandy, an observance sponsored by what was then called the Radio Church of God. Compared to the Feast in England the previous year, it was huge, with nearly 3,000 attending from all over the U.S.A. and Canada.
This was the first year the metal building known as the New Tabernacle was used. Previously, Feast services were held in the Redwood Building, which then became known as the Old Tabernacle.
I liked the church services, but I was really impressed with the other activities, the feeding of thousands in the Old Tabernacle building between services and the way that cars were parked.
Everything was well organized. I stayed in a tent with three other Ambassador College students: Carn Catherwood, Max Kuhlman and Lloyd Hohertz.
As a bachelor, I was able to spend time with the campers, and I saw a lot of campground life. Many of the Feastgoers had been camping for years and had everything down pat.
Tents of all varieties were seen. One native-American family stayed in a tepee. Many with families cooked and ate in the campground. Some camped in old buses fitted with beds and a kitchen, predecessors of motor homes. The Charles Roemer and the Walter Curtis families had such camping vehicles.
I remember Mrs. Roemer and her daughter Janice cooking on a table set up outside their bus. Families gathered together to fellowship and share meals. Campground activities included small bands with people gathering to listen to the pickin' 'n' singin'. While strolling around, I came upon Mr. Peacock playing a fiddle accompanied on a guitar by Mr. Trobridge from Springfield, Mo.
Other activities often involved singing, storytelling, games and general visiting around campfires at night. One family, immigrants from the Netherlands, found wooden shoes ideal for getting around the dusty campground.
Jeffy Coffelt, a blacksmith from Missouri, brought his forge, made horseshoes and shod horses.
I had the opportunity to observe a cross section of people from all over the United States and Canada, with a few from overseas. It was a real education, eight days of fun, fellowship and worship.
Although the Spirit of God working in me through the years has tempered and reshaped many of my ideas about what constitutes essential Christianity, I have retained the spirit of the Feast days and their accompanying fond memories.
I would later embark on a study of God's feast days as a pattern leading to an enhanced understanding of God's plan of salvation centered on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. [For photos from the 1958 Feast of Tabernacles at Big Sandy, see page 10 of this issue.] Robert Macdonald, Pasadena, Calif.
Feast to be remembered
HASTINGS, Mich.--This year the Feast of Tabernacles was held at Camp Wilding, near Hastings. This exciting Feast was held from the evening of Sept. 20 until Sept. 28.
There were 85 to 125 brethren who met at the site. Everyone had a most wonderful and fulfilling Feast time.
We had pleasant weather, and the song services were uplifting.
I felt that the inspired theme of this Feast turned out to be God's love and its application in our daily lives.
We had an atmosphere of friendly teamwork among everyone present, especially with the food preparation.
The young people including the teenagers were prominently involved with the evening performances involving music and other talents.
We really have a great amount of talent among our young people and the adults of God's people.
The brethren developed and wrote a song that was recorded for each family. We even made a video of the talent program, "An Evening to Be Remembered."
We all certainly enjoyed ourselves, and I believe everyone came away with a rewarding experience and an anticipation and expectation for another enjoyable Feast in 2003.
There was even talk of having a spring feast during the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread. Terry Williams, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Come and rejoice
LANTANA, Fla.--Brethren from nine states and the Canadian province of Ontario observed a wonderful eight days, Oct. 22-29, in warm, sunny Palm Beach County at the Feast of Tabernacles observance sponsored by the Christian Church of God of Lantana.
The daily messages were given by six speakers with diverse backgrounds. However, all were in agreement that we should obey the Eternal's instructions to "come and rejoice" after the harvest.
In addition to profitable messages, we had good fellowship, park picnics and an enjoyable and memorable family fun-and-talent night.
We came, we rejoiced, and we were blessed in all areas. We had good sunny weather, no accidents or serious problems, and all who came arrived and returned home safely. For all these blessings we give thanks to our Creator God. Neville Gilbert, Lantana, Fla.
Love and hugging
LOVELAND, Colo. -- Forty-eight of the ekklesia (body of believers) met in the beautiful foothills of the Rockies west of Loveland to observe Yahweh's Feast of Tabernacles.
The mood was one of much love and hugging as we turned our attention to Yahweh's truths and loving that truth as 2 Thessalonians 2:10 says.
It all began Monday evening, Oct. 21, the night before the first full day, when John Trescott told us that "we were here for life." It ended on Tuesday, the Last Great Day, Oct. 29, as David Kenders, festival host, showed us from the Bible who and where the body of believers is and Yahshua's and our commitment to them.
Yahweh's true crescent new-moon calendar, as revealed in the Bible, our love for Yahweh and our Father and Yahshua Messiah, our love for the truths of Yahweh and our love for one another were the common factors that brought us together.
A list of the festival tapes (featuring "The Passover Is Not a Holy Day") can be had by contacting us at A Church of God, 7411 WCR 24H, Loveland, Colo. 80538, U.S.A. David Kenders, Loveland, Colo.
Love and throwed rolls
ORANGE BEACH, Ala.--How can I limit my report to 300 words? Perhaps I could just say "love" 300 times multiplied by the 32 of us "later-date saints" who attended the Feast of Tabernacles Oct. 20-28 in Orange Beach hosted by Dot and Jim Ussery of Big Sandy, Texas.
Oh, wait. The count was not 32. It was 33. The Lord was there! That's where all that love came from!
Speakers were Mr. Ussery, John Warren, Ray Bankston, Alan Barbee, Bill Harkins, Jack Hawkins, Thomas Tallie, Ronnie Tallie, Herb Morrow and Bernie Monsalvo.
We came from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.
We made a point of interacting with each individual there. Everyone knew everyone else's name, and we will remember. We are family.
Paula Monsalvo played classical guitar for us. Alan Barbee and Jean Harkins led us in singing. Bernie Monsalvo presented a study on Psalm 119. Herb Morrow presented a study on the calendar.
The weather? Mostly rain. The time will come when those who do not keep this particular Feast will have no rain. We were singing in it.
The most fun place for dinner? That has to be Foley's Restaurant, home of the "throwed rolls." It's not for the fainthearted. The rolls were flying: big, hot, yeasty rolls. Only a few of them hit the floor, and they were so good that we just didn't care. And the 'possum in a pot and the skunk in a skillet were just examples of what is not served at this really great place to eat. But the main thing is that this group of people loved with a love that comes only from God. This was a Feast to remember! And the best Feast of Tabernacles is still to come! Theda Horton, Little Rock, Ark.
Family survives serious accident
RAPID CITY, S.D.--One hundred thirty members of God's family celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles (Sept. 20-28) at the Crazy Horse Memorial and Conference Center in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The site was sponsored by members of the independent Church of God in Berthoud, Colo., and members of the independent Church of God Fellowship, Lansing, Mich.
The outpouring of God's Spirit and love was moving among us and was visible and reflected by the spirit of service that was pervasive throughout all in attendance.
God's presence was also evident by the many miracles that He performed. These included: one baptism, an answered anointing and healing, many answered prayers and His holy protection.
A family in attendance was run off the road by a semi trailer-truck hauling logs, causing its rental car to overturn several times down an embankment, totaling out the car. All four members of the family walked away from the accident, with their daughter receiving one small cut from broken glass as the only injury.
Fellowship began with a Friday-night opening reception. Monday was family day held at the millennial Sylvan Lake, in Custer State Park.
Field events, races, a tug-of-war and hiking filled the day.
Other group activities throughout the Feast included tours of the Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park, the mammoth site and the Badlands. God's handiwork--His creation, scenery and wildlife--was truly awesome.
Spiritual food was in abundance while each morning (except the Sabbaths) was started with Bible studies for all ages, as well as activities for small children.
Services followed with stimulating messages and uplifting special music, at least two pieces each day.
God's Spirit was truly present and on display in His family here. It was obvious to those in attendance and to those we came in contact with. It was confirmed by the positive comments that followed wherever members went. While the Black Hills have two of the most famous man-made memorials, Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, these pale in comparison to the spiritual memorial to the great God left by those in attendance. Erin Ledy and John Bensinger, Lansing, Mich.
God's family reunion
SAN ANTONIO, Texas--The Churches of God Outreach Ministries sponsored a Feast of Tabernacles in San Antonio, with the Church of God San Antonio as hosts. Throughout the ages the Feast of Tabernacles has been celebrated. Our Father and His Son had to be so pleased with His Feast of Tabernacles at San Antonio.
"God's family reunion," as it could be called, was celebrated with love, rejoicing and family caring. Attendees were always being directed, from the pulpit, to rejoice at "God's holy party," that this is a family affair, to believe that what makes God happy should make us happy, and that the Feast is only eight days, but memories (made here) last forever.
We were also blessed by many excellent sermons, beautiful special music and activities that were unsurpassed. The attendance was up this year, hovering close to 200 each day. Three hundred ten were registered.
The speakers who brought the messages each day seemed to be God-inspired.
Those who blessed us with the messages and words of God were Julian Cruz, Lawrence Gregory, Tom Williams, Steve Andrews, David Hope, Dan Johnson, Fred Porter, Matthew Steel and Tim Hall.
Each day began with a Scripture reading from the youngsters.
There was one baptism this year, Rick Ory, who joined us in the family of God.
The special music this year was just that: special. The fun show was the same, diversified and multitalented.
Our thanks to the speakers, teachers, musicians, volunteers and photographers who gave of their Feast time to make the time better for everyone.
A special thanks to Julian and Ofie Cruz and their congregation there in San Antonio for all their hard work and effort.
You may listen to online sermons from the Feast by going to www.churchofgodsa.com. Rosy Halley, Chandler, Texas.
SUN RIVER, Ore.--I'm writing this after the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). We were in the beautiful surroundings of Sun River, truly a millennial setting. It was like a walk in a wild zoo. We saw raccoons, coyotes, gray squirrels and, of course, many deer, fawn, doe and buck. I feel that nature was trying to tell us humans a things or two. Did we listen? Hopefully, we did.
The animals were giving us a preview of the wonderful, peaceful Kingdom of Yahweh (Isaiah 11:7). There were two other Feast sites that we know of in this area, one sponsored by the UCG at Bend and one independent site.
The one we attended was with the Hoshana Rabbah Messianic community. We wanted to learn more about our Hebrew roots. We may not do or practice all that we experienced, but we tried to be like Paul (Shaul). When he visited others, he became like them, as long as he didn't go against the Most High's word.
Our memories will last a lifetime. We met new brothers and sisters whom we would not otherwise have met. We heard teachings that we otherwise would not have heard. We had a 12-course meal. We were filled!
We learned about the Hebrew language, studied the Hebrew alphabet. We learned Hebrew dance for praise and worship. Of course we are just babes, but I hope we'll continue to practice.
We are to help each other (2 Corinthians 1:24), to uplift, to encourage, to edify. My question is: Did we? When I say we, I refer to some of the groups mentioned above. The wife of our other third of the Berean Fellowship attends the UCG. We met some friends of theirs from the Dakotas who also attended the Bend, Ore., site. We had dinner with them during the Feast. They are truly a loving, caring, uplifting "believing" couple. They are going to live and practice what they believe, and so are we.
During the Feast at Bend, a pastor from the pulpit said some things about Messianics that we (and Yahshua) would consider off color. What do the Scriptures say about doing this?
Read James 1:26 about the need to "bridle" one's tongue and about man's "vain" religion.
One whom we thought was our friend and a part of our believing family said he would not so much as go across the street to greet us because we were attending a "different" Feast site, because we are in a different room in the Most High's house. Tell me. Did the Messiah use this approach?
The Feast was truly a joy. We learned more, and we grew. That's what it's all about. But we still have a long way to go.
I would like to share a poem with you that my wife penned. It says everything that I've written about here. It's called "Children of the Most High."
How wonderful it is to have friends
Who reach out in love time and again.
A radiant joy is seen on their face;
His precious truth we all embrace.
As His children, we join as one,
Giving the esteem to Yahshua His Son.
A Heavenly Kingdom we patiently await,
From our heart, this joy no one can take.
His Spirit fills us with true peace of mind,
Mistakes of our past we leave behind.
Sincerely striving to do His will,
All of our needs He will fulfill.
Until the day our Savior arrives,
His Spirit in us He will revive.
Our Master knows, the ones He calls His own,
By our fruits, and by how much we've grown.
Pressing onward, with eyes straight head,
By His Spirit, we want to be led.
The Father promises life forevermore,
Joy and blessings He has in store.
May Yahweh bless. Dennis L. Whited, Lewiston, Idaho.
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