Charlotte Family Weekend 2019 has come and gone, and as we go forward in 2020 with wonderful memories, we can also look back to consider 13 previous years of successful events.
The Charlotte Family Weekend (CFW), sponsored by the Headquarters congregation of the Living Church of God, has traveled quite a road during the last two decades, and has gone through many changes along the way. But over the years, the plan has always been the same: to offer an event with a family-friendly atmosphere during the winter months between the Fall and Spring Holy Days. While the activity generally draws most of its visitors from the East Coast of the United States, we have always been joined by the pleasant company of visitors from across North America and even overseas.
We appreciate them all! Every year, event planners strive to make the lodging and accommodations as pleasant and welcoming as possible.
Since its inception in 2007, the CFW has seen changes of venue for several of its activities and Sabbath services, going from a small, humble building in Mint Hill that first year, to the HQ building in Charlotte, and most recently to the Renaissance Suites hotel. Similarly, Charlotte natives and guests alike remember experiencing Sports Day and other activities in the Sun Valley High School gymnasium in Weddington, before we more recently began contracting with the Carolina Courts Sports Center of Indian Trail.
We hope that, wherever the event has roamed, its overall benefit has remained: an opportunity to fellowship, learn, and share our experiences with old friends and new.
On that note, CFW 2019 can be called a wonderful success! There was a very good turnout, with 557 attending at Sabbath services and over 4,100 “tuning in” online for the livestream. According to planners, visitors, and locals alike, the brethren enjoyed the large, common seminars on Friday, which discussed reasons to believe God exists, how society is changing as it has abandoned God, and how to stand strong in the face of such changes. Previous years have used a “break out” approach to the seminars, with smaller groups focusing on topics such as being a Christian single, teen, or married couple. But this year’s seminars were geared for the whole crowd and provided a nice change of pace—as did the “question and answer” session with the three seminar presenters on Friday night, which gave the crowd an opportunity to follow up with their own questions about the presentations. One new member remarked that this year’s seminars and follow-up event reflected LCG’s emphasis on servant leadership, as speakers lent themselves without partiality to everyone while openly addressing everyone’s questions—both onstage and off.
Seminars aside, the schedule for this year’s CFW differed notably from those of just about every CFW of the past decade in other ways, as well. This year, planners “front loaded” some of the weekend’s usual activities onto the Thursday and Friday leading up to the Sabbath. Charlotte is a “working city” that sees many of its industrious residents head out of town to more recreational locales this time of year—drastically reducing the city’s “busyness” for the entire week. This made it ideal to schedule CFW 2019’s Sports Day for Thursday, December 26, which left Sunday—normally a hectic day with many visiting brethren needing to depart early—completely open for attendees either to get together or to head home without fear of missing any planned activities.
What’s more, the weather certainly cooperated this year, as it often does, with high temperatures getting up into the 60s. Although it certainly can get cold during our winter weekends (some may recall the snowy Saturday evening dinner dance of 2010), this year’s visitors from “down under” might have been understandably confused and left wondering if they had successfully reached the wintry Northern Hemisphere at all.
As always, we here in Charlotte would like to thank everyone for helping to continue this tradition of keeping spirits zealous and hearts entwined, ensuring that the Holy Days are not the only times in the year that brethren can come together in unity and brotherhood. We would especially like to thank our visitors for bringing so much to the activities each year. Have a pleasant Spring Holy Day season, and stay tuned for more details about CFW 2020!