United Church of God

Nearly 150 Gather for Joyous Pentecost Weekend in Brown County, Indiana

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Nearly 150 Gather for Joyous Pentecost Weekend in Brown County, Indiana

Brown County, Indiana—Resuming a long tradition after last year’s COVID-19-related interruption, nearly 150 members and families from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Texas and Virginia gathered May 14-16 to take part in the United Church of God annual Pentecost weekend celebration.

Members stayed in family cabins and newly renovated lodge accommodations in a verdant environment. With its rolling hills, lush forests and many hiking trails, Brown County State Park is known as “the little Smoky Mountains.”

Sabbath and Pentecost services took place in the aptly named Melodeon Hall, decked with elaborate floral arrangements by Julia Shew and Grace Arnold of the Terre Haute, Indiana, congregation. The Friday before the Holy Day weekend, the park hall was transformed into a professional sound stage capable of supporting multiple singers and musicians by brothers Tim and Sam Howie, who also served as overall music directors for the weekend. The professional staff at the state park graciously helped to accommodate the expanded needs of the weekend while still complying with state COVID-19 regulations.

Afternoon Sabbath services began the weekend, with a sermonette from Terre Haute member Brandon Zollner, and a sermon delivered by Illinois elder Mike Arnold. The first of many pieces of worship music of the weekend was performed by Katie Zucca and Tim and Maria Howie.

Following services, members and families all re-assembled for the traditional Sabbath potluck in a nearby outdoor shelter with beautiful Indiana spring weather as a backdrop. The much-anticipated traditional Concert for God—this time expanded with a record 15 musical presentations and one interpretive ballet dance—followed, beginning at 7:30 in the evening. Church President Victor Kubik served as master of ceremonies for the event.

The Concert for God this year included uplifting musical presentations by Brenda Wendling and Rick Peterson, joined by extended family members that also included the Clore family. Rick Peterson’s presentation of One Voice brought back memories for many. The church music group Together United—made up of Tim and Marie Howie, Sam Howie, Dustin Howie, Ray Clore III, Sabrina Clore, Rhianna Krohn, Reese Krohn, Corbin Rose and Jamie Snyder—performed several songs, including How Great Is Our God. Other Concert for God musical performers included Mandy Cobb, Meredith Keeney, Kur Rose and Brandon Zollner.

Ballet dance, performed to the music of El Shaddai, was presented by Tessa Bushert, Emilee Saathoff, Sabe Lla Zucca and Mrs. Howie.

The inspiring evening was capped off by the weekend’s traditional congregation hymn sing, accompanied on the piano by Mr. Kubik and Mr. Rose and supported by other musicians.

More than 140 brethren returned to the Melodeon Room on Pentecost morning. Indianapolis deacon David Cobb presented the sermonette and offertory, which included an original composition titled Peace written by Corbin Rose and performed by Corbin and Kur Rose. The Pentecost children’s choir performed delightfully enthusiastic special music, directed by Maria Howie. Ray Clore II delivered a Pentecost-themed sermon titled “Peace (Shalom) in the Church.”

Following a catered meal in the Abe Martin Lodge, members and families returned for the final afternoon service. As is tradition, the sermonette time was devoted to multiple pieces of special music, capped off by a powerful performance of Use Me Lord by the Pentecost combined adult choir, directed by Meredith Keeney. Victor Kubik, whose wife Beverly helped organize the first Pentecost state park weekend many years ago, closed out services with a sermon in which he spoke about the origins and purpose of the Church that Jesus Christ founded.

The weekend of song, worship and fellowship (with record attendance) was made possible by the help of many people, especially Indianapolis deacon and deaconess Tony and Jane Pacelli. Plans are already being made for an enthusiastic return to Brown County for Pentecost in 2022.