31% of our student body is off to the mountains for Winterfest, the premier Church of Christ youth rally, held each February in Gatlinburg. Something like 12,000 teens are expected.
This brings to mind a flood of good memories. My first Wintefest wasn’t the first one, but it was very early. I remember them announcing that they had broken 800 and “next year we want 1,000.” That was way back, even before Gatlinburg. It was in some hole in the wall in Pigeon Forge. I have good memories of taking youth groups from various churches to Winterfest. In particular my heart is warmed by the memory of Laura and I and our three teens from Central making a one-car road trip up there when I was “youth minister.” Yes, I had 3 kids in the “youth group.” (Hands down, the most “productive” and enjoyable ministry experience I’ve ever had).
I have one nutty memory associated with Winterfest. Visting a local Nashville congregation, I was approached by a older man, in the lobby, who introduced himself as a new member and then told me why was a new member of this church. His previous church was sending their kids to “that Winnerfesht up in Gatlinburg…you know, they have Baptist women pastors teaching classes up there…and we just had to leave…”
This is nutty for several reasons: one, I was just visiting this church, standing in the lobby waiting for Laura to exit the restroom, and this random man, moved by something (what, I do not know), feels the need to fill me in. Um, thanks. And two, this man has made the decision to leave one family of faith for another based, at least in a straw-that-breaks-the-camel’s-back sense, on gross misinformation. I think he was a bit surprised to hear me state that I personally knew all of the organizers of said “Winnerfesht” and that, contrary to what gossip he has heard, there were no “Baptist women pastors” teaching any classes there. While there may yet be any number of things he would dislike about Winterfest, I assured him he can safely check off that list the “women Baptist pastors.”
But I digress (no pun intended).
Slow day today. Which means catching up on grading (yes, like a fool I gave another test), working on a practicum paper, and reading (finishing Francis Schaeffer’s Escape from Reason, for some reason..haha!)
The Ice children are beside themselves with excitement: we’ve got a warm front of grandparents coming in from west tonight for a long weekend visit. Rumor has it we’ll be staying up late, sleeping in late, eating lots of pizza, ice cream, and seeing Curious George at some point. What could be better?
Grace and peace.