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Super Bowl offers churches a chance to share

February 04, 2002

Super Bowl offers churches a chance to share



By MARLO BARNHART
marlob@herald-mail.com


The talk was of victory and opponents, winners and losers ... everyone enjoyed the snacks and refreshing beverages. And at one particular Super Bowl party Sunday night, the subject of the Rams, the Patriots and football even came up now and then.

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The three-dozen or so who attended the Super Bowl Fellowship and Outreach party at Broadfording Bible Brethren Church were every bit as interested in the sporting event as other fans.

But they had an edge. They were also looking at the bigger picture.

Sure, they were watching the game on a big-screen television, even if it was located in the front of the sanctuary with a cross and the words, "Jesus First" in the background. And they were sitting in the pews, eating their snacks and enjoying the event in casual clothes.

"Jesus would have enjoyed this," said Susan Freed, music director of the church. "He liked a good time."

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Freed and her husband, Bill, who is senior pastor of the church, dropped in for the festivities and then returned home, where they were going to watch the game with friends.

Pastor Bill Wyand, who hosted this year's event, said it was the second one and expects it will become an annual occasion. "It's a great time of fellowship," Wyand said. "We've just had fun with it."

Member Evelyn Batten was back for the special brand of fellowship this year, bringing her homemade pumpkin pies for all to enjoy.

"We came last year and it was a lot of fun, so we came back," Batten said.

Special music from Child-Like Faith preceded the game, showcasing the talents of three young people who have been singing together for several years.

There was even a speaker, who brought a very special message.

"Imagine inviting a former football player to an event like this," said Ken Burkhart, who proceeded to talk about battles and victories described in the Bible.

Burkhart said all Christians are in a battle, bombarded with messages that lead away from Christianity.

Director of Child Evangelism Fellowship of the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, Burkhart said no football game on television is more important than finding eternity.

"Only God can give the victory and knowing Christ is that victory," Burkhart said.

Broadfording Bible Brethren Church wasn't the only house of worship keying in on the Super Bowl theme Sunday.

All around the Tri-State area, dozens of churches engaged in the unique fund-raising event called Souper Bowl of Caring, an event that trades on the name recognition value of the sports event to encourage people to donate money for those less fortunate in their communities.

A year ago, Souper Bowl saw 12,500 churches, congregations, schools and businesses representing all 50 states and Canada raise $3.6 million to help hungry and hurting people.

All the money and any food collected is sent directly to a charity selected by each group.

"We raised $206 for the Hagerstown Food Bank Sunday," said Susan Herbst, youth director at Hagerstown Church of the Brethren.

For the fourth year in a row, the 15-plus young people also collected more than 50 canned food items from parishioners on the way into church. More will be accepted next Sunday, she said.

Haven Lutheran Church had an equally successful effort Sunday, collecting $224.06 which will also be directed to the food bank which is located at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, said Pastor Torben Aarsand.

Other area churches could be reached for comment on their results.

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