The Summer of the Parking Lot
Pulling into 500 VFW parkway, Kent on a Saturday night this summer you would’ve discovered a packed-out parking lot, like a smaller version of Cleveland’s Muni Lot before kickoff.
That’s what it felt like. People parked around a podium with trunks open, chairs out, truck beds used for elevated seating. Sometimes people even had Christmas lights & canopies around their allotted parking spaces. People came early for grilling out and delicious coffee from the outdoor coffee hut. They stayed late for games of volleyball and, when the weather started to chill, multiple bonfires around the lot. Every Saturday night felt like a party. Even though this was a Bible study, mid-pandemic, in a parking lot of an old VFW. For many, the summer of 2021 will go down in the Freedom Fellowships history books as one of the greatest yet.
As a fellowship, we have a lot to be grateful for as we reflect on 2021. The pandemic forced so many churches across the country to shut down or resort to drive-in services that ultimately decreased church attendance to the lowest it has ever been. Yet, Freedom Fellowships just seemed to thrive.
In past summers, we have always taken advantage of good weather for outdoor meetings.
But this year, we had a plot of land to call our own, which of course is now renovated into our study center. Just as the pandemic was causing meetings to be put on hold, God gave us a way to continue our warm fellowship. With so much of life being halted or different, it was beautiful to come together on a Saturday night to be able to listen to an edifying Bible teaching, with friends, and God’s beautiful hand painting breathtaking sunsets silhouetting the speaker just as the teachings wrapped.
Sure, we had to use porta potties, but by the grace of God the Ohio weather was the best it’s been in many summers to allow these wonderful meetings to take place. I know I’ll never forget being able to see so many friends at once and watching all our kids run through the field together in pure delight.
Along with outdoor CT meetings, we were also able to host a baptism, New Year’s Eve party, Halloween parties and more. God has provided, and we look forward to many more provisions to come!
Sitting in rising anticipation for our new building, quite literally, as we were forced to meet in the shadow of the then incomplete structure was a blast!