Thursday, May 31, 2007

THE Event

For those hoping for a recap of the momentous occasion that was the Straits Evangelical Free Church 25th Anniversary, here goes some highlights and insights.
  • The weather was so blissfully cool on the cookout Saturday night, that Paul Miller has only taken 4 days to thaw! (Thanks for all the cookin', Paul)
  • The video loop was not only funny and fun, but drew the great comment "Boy this church sure likes to eat."
  • The picture table was a hit. Most folks seemed somewhat appalled at the poor quality of cameras that were used, they made all of us look soooo...........young!
  • It was so great to see all the folks who made the effort to travel, sometimes great distances to make it in. Names like Feick, Sturhahn, Bonney, Stavlund, Caroffino (2 generations!), Howard, Swenor, Hart, Opal, Mahlmeister, Penner, Candle, and others that I'm sure to get in trouble for not remembering.
  • Sunday morning worship. Boy, a worship leader could get used to a room full of voices booming back at him.
  • The testimony time. Patrick (Rodney Dangerfield's back!) Bonney. Wow! All anyone can say is Wow! Mixing sorrow with gut-busting humour, like nobody's business. If all I remember from the weekend is "the church's first fight" ie a young Brian saying that 'Dad wasn't coming to church because he and Mom had a fight', I'll die a laughing man.
  • Testimony 2. Mike Stavlund remembering all the 'tough stuff' we had to go through, while we seemed to recall all the 'tough stuff' we MADE IT THROUGH.
  • Testimony 3. Different stories of the church being the church to one another, and God being praised because of it.
  • Food.
  • Did I mention food yet?
  • A baby dedication. Anne Elise Penner. (Hope the spelling is right) My dear child, not only are you a beautiful young lady whose parents love you, you have a big sister who graciously gave you center stage during your dedication and didn't fuss at all.
  • Special music that praised God for his faithfullness. Some pretty sweet guitar on that one, way to go Chris Ball!
  • After worship potluck. Did I mention food yet? Boy did I eat good.
  • All those 'goodbyes' and 'see ya laters' that felt good, rather than melancholy. Boy it was great to visit with all the great folks that God has placed in our lives. It was mentioned somewhere during the weekend that this was a foretaste of a banquet that is promised for those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. (Kinda makes you wonder how much, even better the food will be there)
  • Much more, that I hope Paul will share soon.
I've got to admit that one super time was had me. Hope everyone else enjoyed themselves even half as much.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

They're gathering

If you're reading this, you probably actually care about this whole anniversary/reunion thing and are making plans for the weekend. Know that this makes you highly favored. Really cool people attend events such as this one, and remember them for a lifetime.

O.K., folks around these parts are getting a little giddy with anticipation to see friends, old and new. Family is returning, and organizers are questioning each other about the number of chairs we're going to need. (answer, more chairs) Weather looks to be mild, but quite manageable (hah!, as if!)

With all the folks gathering, I (Tom D.M.) seem to be waxing nostalgic about all God has done through S.E.F.C, and still looking forward to all He will do, yet. May our weekend visit (and mortgage burning!) make the Lord smile, make us smile, and continually revive the joy of the Lord in our hearts. Hopefully people who like to take pictures, will be on hand and busy. Paul has done a great job of setting up this site and posting some of those pictures, we hope to do more of the same after this weekend.

See you all soon!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Preach Off!

Everywhere I go, people on the street keep stopping me to say "Man, I am so excited for this preach-off I keep hearing about." I wasn't so sold on the concept, but, you got to give the people what the want. So, heres how I propose it goes down:

The first contestant will be given a randomly selected scripture to base a message on. The congregation will then sing a multi-versed song, which will be all the prep time alloted to the contestant. As soon as the song ends the sermon must begin. Each sermon must contain an introductory illustration, which should be followed by three points and then some form of conclusion. All of this must be completed within five minutes. We will then begin the process again with the next contestant, and so on. At the conclusion of the contest, the competitors will line up at the exit of the sanctuary and a tally will be taken of who receives hand shakes from the exiting congregation. The handshake total will be added to the number of exclamatory comments (Amen, Preach it, etc.) received during each message. The individual with the highest score will be declared the winner of the preach-off and receive first in line status at any ensuing potluck.

or something like that...

Its just a thought.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Lil' Smokies or Meatballs

The Straits Evangelical Free Church Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Celebration Planning Committee (SEFC25ACPC) convened today to hammer out some of those pesky details. As it stands, there will be an open house on Saturday, May 26, from 5-8pm. This will be an opportunity for fun and fellowship and of course some sort of meat soaking in barbeque sauce. Then, on Sunday afternoon after the worship service, we shall have a tasty meal together at the church.

We will be sending out another mailing with all this information in the next week. Though I know we are still 5 weeks away, it would be nice to hear from folks who are fairly certain they are coming. Feel free to leave a comment on the site or email us.

I have received some more pictures and I encourage others to send some along. The above photo is of the groundbreaking for the church building. This brings me to this weeks trivia question:

Can you name all of the individuals in this photo? (click for larger)

Bonus points: When was this?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Making plans, planning

As the big weekend gets closer, the details for the reunion celebration are getting a tad more refined. This past week's congregational business confirmed one of the more "milestone-esque" things we plan to do - Burn the building mortgage! The board has also taken up deliberations on whether or not to notify the local lending institution on whether or not we will pay off said mortgage prior to burning it. It was a close vote, but conventional wisdom was that we should pay off the debt before we burn the paperwork...... at least I think thats the order. Details on the preach-off are a little sketchy, still.

We would enjoy hearing from folks who think they'll be able to make it here for the big weekend. If you would like to comment on the blog, or send an e-mail that would be encouraging, although we plan on having food --------, I mean fellowship at the church site anyway. More details about the weekend are going to be published here, and also another mailing is coming up. The efforts to bring in Luis Palau, Jars of Clay, Tommy Walker, Ron DiCianni, Steven Curtis Chapman, Rick Warren and Geraldo Rivera have met with rather immovable scheduling conflicts thus far, but we'll let you know if they get back to us.

Keep those cards and letters coming!

Monday, April 9, 2007


April 8, 2007 was Easter Sunday. As is tradition at S.E.F.C., we had a wonderful sunrise breakfast at 8:00a.m. (O.K., sunrise was around 7, but it was very cloudy that day) After a delightful menu of eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, fruit, rolls, potatoes,(somebody ask Dan Quayle about my spelling!) coffee and O.J., we settled in for a long winter's nap. No, wait. It had been snowing, and was about 17 that morning, but the thrill was celebrating with family the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus. This was a beautiful time of looking at the big picture of salvation, from broader perspective. An Easter message from....Exodus, of course!

From songs, prayers and reminiscences of how much we are blessed, to sharing communion and singing Rise Again, the family of God didn't talk of an Easter bunny, or how 'the world' has stolen the meaning of Easter. A dead man rose from the grave and spoke to his friends. He gave us marching orders, and promised the power of His Spirit. All in all, a pretty good day. A pretty good day indeed!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Hiking in '85

Twenty-five years means a lot of potlucks, camping trips, parties, Christmas programs, and just general get-togethers. This means there must be a lot of photographs floating around. Maybe nicely sorted in a cute little album or just floating around a shoe box with an old cassette tape and a candy wrapper. Either way, now would be a wonderful time to dig these treasures up to share with everyone at the open house.

How should I go about doing that? Funny you should ask. The easiest, though less exciting route, is to throw them in some kind of album and bring them along when you come Memorial Day weekend. Even better, though a tad more difficult, would be if you could digitize said photographs and email them to We will be running a slide show of these photographs during the open house. Now won't that be nice?

Note: I'm not sure who that young man is, sitting on a lap on the lower right-hand side, but boy does he look sharp.