When the freed Israelite slaves stood on the eastern shore of the Red Sea, they celebrated (Exodus 15:1-21). Egypt and its army was behind them, beyond the western shore. Through incredible, unimaginable blessings, God released these captives from their captors. Slavery was behind them, and a new destiny in their promised country was ahead of them. They had reason to celebrate!

When the first Christians understood the new forgiveness, they celebrated (Acts 2:41-47). Guilt for Jesus' crucifixion was on the other side of baptism. Through incredible, unimaginable blessings, God released these captives from evil. With joy they embraced God's liberation. Their former slavery to sin was behind them, and a new destiny in Christ was ahead of them. They had reason to be filled with joy!

God's community of Christians at West-Ark has special reason to celebrate. In February, this congregation becomes twenty years old. Our twenty year journey has traveled through trials, dark moments, and incredible blessings. If God had withheld His gracious, patient help, Satan could have used some of those trials and dark moments to destroy us. But our patient, merciful God is greater than Satan. When we looked to Him in faith, He blessed us. Our reasons for joy and celebration are incredible!

February 11 is our "20th Anniversary Celebration Sunday." Over twenty years ago, the decision was made to merge Windsor Drive and College Terrace. New facilities were constructed on the site that is now West-Ark [formerly College Terrace]. During construction, the merged congregations met in the Windsor Drive facilities.

Jack Harriman was the minister of the College Terrace congregation prior to the merger. He continued as West-Ark's first minister. Jack will speak in our a.m. worship assembly February 11. Dub Chism [a former minister of West-Ark] was also invited, but his health does not permit him to travel.

Roy Dunavin was a minister of evangelism in the College Terrace congregation. He continued in that role in the West-Ark congregation. Roy and Joyce have been a part of this congregation since its first day of existence. Brad Pistole grew up in the West-Ark congregation. He also attended Metro Christian School that was housed in these facilities when West-Ark began. Earl Flood was the Administrator of Metro, and several current members worked as teachers in Metro. Myra Flippo served as secretary for College Terrace. She began her work as West-Ark's secretary shortly after the merger.

February 11's schedule: 9:30 a.m. --a combined teen/adult auditorium assembly. Roy Dunavin, Brad Pistole, Ted Edwards, and David Chadwell will each share thoughts. 10:30 a.m. --worship, Jack Harriman will be the speaker. Noon --we will share a fellowship meal and visit. 1:30 p.m. --Will Ed Warren will speak in an early afternoon assembly. Will Ed brought special blessings to this congregation during two extended periods of transition.

On February 11 this community of Christians gratefully acknowledges its past blessings and joyfully looks to its future. Do you know someone who would like to enjoy the day? Invite them!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 21 January 2001

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