This past year was filled with changes and some wonderful events that have created new opportunities for Common Ground Christian Ministries and others.
The 2014 Common Faith Network Feast of Tabernacles
For the past several years, Common Ground has partnered with several other churches and ministries to host a Feast of Tabernacles in Florida. The Feast of Tabernacles and the 8th Day celebrations are rich in symbolism and point to the redemptive work of Jesus and the history of God's working with Israel and the Christian community of believers. Our peak attendance was 585 - a good sized group!
What struck me most about this year's feast was the quality of the music and the children's programs. While I think we have one of the better groups of gifted speakers, the music this year was the best I have ever heard. We ask the worship leaders to include in each service a variety of traditional and contemporary songs so everybody can enjoy singing. The musicians and singers were just excellent. On one of the days I was standing in the back of the auditorium and the congregational singing sounded more like a concert than just typical singing. It was that good.
The program for the youngest children was based on Moses and Israel in the Wilderness. Mark Gentry was Moses and Kate Ambrose led the singing. Jennifer Swenson and Carrie Gentry organized everything and a host of volunteers were tribe leaders and shop keepers. Along with the children's programs we had programs for tweens, teens and young adults. I think some families find the emphasis on youth at CFN helps their children become better connected with their faith, Jesus, God our Father and new friends.
Camp Outreach 2014
Jennifer's mother, Sarah Osborn, died in May, after an extended period of illness. The loss of her mom kind of knocked the stuffings out of our family. Coming right at the critical time for planning Camp Outreach, we made the hard decision to cancel it for 2014. The neighborhood missed the wonderful influence and works of service from our church families who volunteer.
The good news is Camp Outreach 2015 is set! It took a while to negotiate a workable agreement with the camp where we stay, but we finally got it done. Put June 21-27, 2015 on your calendar for Camp Outreach 2015!
For a number of years Common Ground has been host for Kardias Ministries. Kardias is headed by Brian and Stephanie Smith and most notably had supported efforts of Christians in India to care for widows and evangelize. This year the Smiths moved to California and two people have stepped up to share responsibility with the Smiths in ministry - Michael Deering with the Indian Ministry and John Wilson through Faith Fellowship to handle the finances and book keeping. We miss the Smiths and pray for their success and that of Michael and John as they assume responsibilities for these ministries.
On a personal note ...
I mentioned the loss of our beloved Sarah Osborn, but there was joy this year in welcoming three new grandchildren into our family. Norah, Ruby and Lydia have won special places in our hearts - and for those who are counting, that makes 10 grandchildren!
We were a little misty-eyed about the sale of our home of 19 years Plainfield, IN. We bought a foreclosed home that is 12 miles north in Brownsburg, IN, did renovations and now have a much larger gathering space for family and friends. (The Swenson clan alone is 20 people!)
May God our Father and Jesus our Savior bless you and your family in the coming year.
Common Ground Christian Ministries