This festival is every year during the weekend of Father's Day. There are all kinds of booths set up with pizza, sandwiches, Italian ice, and sweets. It's set up outside of our church near the lake along with a "Car show" of antique cars-many of them from those who attendees of the church. It is a great event for families and of course for DADS!
This year our amazing Section leader(different groups within the church), Saray, had the idea to have a tail gating them where we would open up our trunks in the parking lot of Willow and enjoy food, fiesta, and fireworks. As we set up all enthusiastic and excited, we stared up at the sky and was not sure if God was going to make that happen.
All of my favorite friends were there as we were volunteering together with our section. Many of us had the jobs of "Connectors" to welcome guests and learn about them. The Indian Christian community is quite present in our Section and church. These are my favorite to connect with as many I have seen before and they come with their lovely families and children. I just adore the way we smile at each other and have great conversations about their church experience, their life, and how Jesus fits in. It's quite a busy life for our Section and guests. But that commitment to Christ is what I important.
As a connector and photographer, these are the roles that I am meant to do. With Saray's events, it's kind of a motto of "bigger is better." With a smaller number(600), it is easier to make that goal of speaking with as many people as possible in the time given.
As usual our guests attended late giving me the pleasure of taking them to their seats and filling up the top floor! It's my absolute favorite welcoming those people who are new to Willow and watching their reaction when they walk in and see it for the first time. I make sure to prepare them for our gigantic church and remind them of amazing Section community we have to welcome them each week. Our church does have...well...um....7200 seats. It would be completely normal to be intimidated by this fact, but community exists within this gigantic powerhouse.
Unfortunately, the Chicago weather disappointed us yet again and tailgating was Canceled, which meant our amazing volunteers had to transfer all the food from outside to inside. Everyone worked so hard to do this and it demonstrated some true teamwork!
It's interesting how "things happen for a reason." Saray and the team were not sure how the whole tailgating thing would even work out and I felt that things inside worked out great. The room was small, but great for Priscilla because I Love Intimacy. It was easy for me to navigate myself around to floor, tables, and stairs speaking with people. It's always proof to my theory of acknowledgment that everyone loves a dose of acknowledgement rather than eating with their family and heading out the door.
It's not a choice for me to just sit down and speak with one family rather it's a mission to get to know everyone, their story, their view of the church and service, how often they attend, their distance from church, their family dynamic, and attending as a family unit/couple/individual. These assessments are limited with the time and I would truly love to do a whole research study on the Indian population and how church, events, community, family is impacting their lives. It's all very fascinating for myself, Pastors, and leaders who have their cultural barriers with the Indian population.
This is an ongoing discussion that deserves a formal research study-Willow Creek and the Indian Christian population-another thing for Priscilla to add on the list!
Overall, it was a great event and I was happy to see familiar faces.