Family has always been at the heart of NCS…and although our organization is a fellowship of men, we often include wives, children and other family members in our activities. After a year in a pandemic, our first-ever Family Day was a welcome social event.
The idea for a family day came about as brothers began to share concerns about the isolation everyone had been through due to COVID. Brandon Billings of the Winston-Salem chapter started compiling a list of activities we could get together and do with our family in a safe, outdoor setting. The goal was to help our families and friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while reconnect and catch up on each other’s lives over the past year.
Stu and Nancy Epperson graciously volunteered their farm in Ararat, Virginia, to host a day that was shock-full of activities. It began with two options for physical fitness: a morning hike and a 15-mile bicycle ride. While some of the over 120 guests partook in those two activities, others opted for a less-strenuous carriage ride and hayride.
By mid-morning, we were holding an inspirational devotion and worship service led by Epperson and Kevin Frack, with a focus on gratitude for the ability to come together after so much time apart. After the Epperson's shared how their farm has been used to bring families together during difficulties, we heard from Frack, leader of the Davie County group.
Following the devotion, some of the Winston-Salem Fellows, along with Ned Erickson led us in a time of worship together.
All attendees had worked up a pretty big appetite by lunch. We came together to break bread with a lovely catered meal of barbecue from Aunt Beas and microbrewery beverages from Threshing Floor Brewing. When we thought we couldn’t eat or drink any more, we found a little more room for desserts brought by our guests while being entertained by a blue grass band, 2 Young, 2 Old, recommended by Epperson. After lunch, there were more activities including a fishing derby (Stan Senft was the winner), a cornhole tournament and other outdoor games.
As with our other NCS events, our brothers stepped up to donate what was needed to make the event a success. All the audio needs were provided by Bill McClain’s production company. Ned Erickson brought along the Winston-Salem Fellows, who jumped in to help out in various ways…and of course, Courtney Mauzy quenched everyone’s thirst with beers from his brewery. Specific activity leaders included:
Steve Anthis, who led the early morning hike
Dean Brior and Darryl McCormick, who led the fishing derby
Jay Helvey and Mike Shemancik, who led the early bicycle ride
So many NCS guys showed their devotion to the day by becoming an integral part of the event. It didn’t go unnoticed, as our guests could not say enough about every aspect of this magical day.
Family Day strengthened the bond between the brothers, who got a chance to do an activity together or just simply talk, as well as the non-NCS guests. Spouses and children got to witness the comradery and love the brothers have for each other, seeing a true example of friendships based on Jesus. We feel certain Family Day will become an annual event!
A few comments from attendees:
"Great event this past weekend!!!" - Guy Morgan
"...excellent planning in making Family Day a smashing success for everyone today. What a blessing!" - Jay Helvey
"It was definitely the most fun party we have ever, ever had at Ararat!" -Nancy Epperson