Several years ago (2004) I convinced the family to take a long road trip out to Illinois for a summer music festival called Cornerstone. We were much more accustomed to attending “that other festival” up in Pennsylvania, but Cornerstone had Glenn Kaiser – one of the founders of Rez Band, and currently playing the blues! (Really – that’s what I wanted to see).
Cornerstone turned out to be a very cool festival and very (VERY) different from “that other festival”. There was much more diversity in music, heck – there was just MUCH more music. There was also several days of seminars that one could attend. Being the stalker that I was being, I discovered that Glenn Kaiser was going to be leading a discussion on church leadership and associated issues that church leaders experience I thought, “that’s cool – I’m a youth leader at my church…I’m in!”
Toward the end of the seminar, someone passed around a sign-up sheet for a moderated chat group that one could join to more or less continue the discussions, ask questions, vent, seek advice and support, and whatever. I signed up and joined a group called “Theophilus’ Journey” and have been involved ever since.
The member of this chat group – much like many in the blogging community – have become an extended family of sorts, and are very close brothers and sisters in the Lord. There is much diversity in terms of age, experiences, mission, and the like – but we (most of the time) get beyond all that and enjoy the fellowship of believers. So much in fact, that long ago it was decided that once a year at Cornerstone just didn’t cut it – so the Winter Gathering was born.
This weekend Leah and I will travel to central Indiana to fellowship with our extended family of “theophilites.” We’ll be picking up a few folks along the way, and are looking forward to great fellowship and comraderie. The Gathering itself is graciously hosted by one of our members at the Hebron Center where he works. The Hebron Center is a residential recovery program that is dedicated to the spiritual rehabilitation of men in alcohol and drug addiction and their families. It’s always a very special time – the residents look forward to hosting us, and we look forward to spending time with them and hearing their stories of recovery. The highlight for many of us is shared worship with the men on Sunday morning. There is something very special about hearing the stories of people that have very literally been SAVED by God.
Stay tuned…I’m sure there will be stories to tell upon our return.