11.23.12 Christian Retreat outreach dinner
Thanksgiving can last more than one day. The traditional Thanksgiving day service followed by the pot blessing meal was a wonderful memory. Families and singles who did not get to travel for the holiday were invited to share the feast in Agape Gardens, the restaurant on the church grounds. A day later, the kitchen was busy again.
Pastor Rozelle Foster, with a team of five, created a Thanksgiving Feast that would feed three hundred. Youth Pastor Sue Lowery recruited and headed the volunteer base that would set up, serve, and tear down the transformed gymnasium. Church members donated their time, as well as a strong participation from the youth. Mitzi Petty, a local volunteer, stated that her daughter Samantha recruited Key Club members as well as members from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes who attend Braden River High School.
The Source, located at 5412 E. State Rd. 64 Bradenton FL, 34208, teamed up with the Retreat for this outreach event.. They donated the buses which would pick up homeless and people living in shelters, giving them door to door service as they experienced a banquet prepared especially for them. They also supplied a cornucopia of food. Each guest was asked to fill a box with their choice of dairy products, fresh vegetables, breads and other staples to take home with them.
The volunteer staff was highly organized. Servers were at the ready with water and ice tea, to fill each glass. Another group of servers brought the steaming plates of food to each guest. Clearing off the table was done efficiently so that each diner could enjoy visiting without speaking over a table of empty plates.
Pastor Gonzolas opened the evening with prayer. Pastor John Lowery, nationally known pianist and worship leader, sang several songs to set the stage for the evening’s events. Ellie, from the Well, gave a testimony of how, despite the medical reports, was miraculously healed of a sprained ankle and a fracture. Sozo, a Rap Team from Bradenton Youth for Christ, sang a song which challenged youth. The Extreme Team, led by Bishop Freeze, brought a compilation of Hip Hop, Rap and ‘Power Team’ style feats of strength to the stage. The team included Taylor, who bench presses 200 pounds, H20, who bench presses 300 pounds, and of course Bishop Freeze, who bench presses 400 pounds. The guests were thrilled to see Taylor blow up a hot water bag, H20 break a stack of bricks, Bishop Freeze tear a phone book in half, bend metal with his teeth, and lift two volunteers from the audience on a steel bar, spinning them through the air. Each feat of strength accompanied a story or a motto to live by. One example was “Don’t give up your Christian walk…Finish strong.”
Pastor Mark from the Source joined Pastor Phil for a final word. Over ten people came to the front to receive Christ. Pastor Mark closed the evening in prayer.
Today’s Thanksgiving was the best Thanksgiving ever.