Big Sandy's annual winter weekend accommodates 250-plus

BIG SANDY, Texas--The Church of God Big Sandy sponsored its annual Family Fellowship Weekend Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 21-22.

"Our congregation traditionally hosts this fellowship weekend during the winter break, since many teenagers and preteenagers are out of school," said Dave Havir, pastor of the congregation.

The weekend's activities, which all took place in the church's building here, began with the church service at 1 p.m.

Joe Kirkpatrick of Portales, N.M., an elder in the Christian Church of God, based in Amarillo, Texas, gave the first sermon.

He likened some believers to wild-turkey hunters who wear camouflage in an attempt to blend in with their surroundings. He explained that followers of Jesus must be willing to stand out in society as they strive to set the example of the Savior.

The Tulsa Church of God Fellowship Choir, directed by Ray Kurr of Mounds, Okla., sang three selections for special music.

Mr. Havir gave the second sermon, "My Shepherd Is the King of Love." In the middle of the sermon, the Tulsa choir sang to highlight some of Mr. Havir's points. Then for the conclusion the choir sang "The King of Love My Shepherd Is."

After the sermon the congregation and guests enjoyed a chili supper organized by Melodee Overton of Hawkins and Tat Tomes of Lindale.

After the meal, local members converted the building to the Wild West Fest.

At 7 p.m. the activities convened with carnival-type games. Throughout the evening participants won tickets they could redeem at a prize booth. Sharon Wilson of Tyler had organized the event and served as master of ceremonies for the evening.

At midnight began a "lock-in," which means people of all ages (in this case mostly teens and preteens) stayed in the building until the morning to participate in various organized activities.

They included dancing, movies, card games, board games, foosball and Ping-Pong. Some of the participants slept for a few hours, but most stayed up all night.

Chaperons were David Fisher of Pritchett and Nancy Sharp, Jonathan Stahl and Mr. Havir, all of Big Sandy.

At 10 a.m. the congregation served a brunch for weekend visitors and participants. Tony Contos of Big Sandy and his crew prepared the meal.

After the brunch guests returned to their homes in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas and New Mexico.

Between 250 and 300 people participated in the weekend's activities.

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