Blog Post by the Rev. Dr. Craig Howard
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
Transitional Leader
(Photo by PCUSA Staff photographer)

Big Tent was amazing!!
Big Tent St. Louis was one of the best Big Tent events ever! From the music, to the food; from the Washington University setting, to the inspiring preaching and workshops, the event was accomplished with precision and excellence.
But the shining lights were the volunteers from Giddings-Lovejoy. They did a tremendous job. The leadership from our denomination headquarters in Louisville made sure I knew how outstanding our volunteers performed. The participants had mounds of praise for our volunteers as well! These volunteers included: The five congregations that hosted participants on Friday night. Greeters. Registration table. Hospitality table. Golf Cart drivers. Mound Ridge and their work with the youth. Directors to the various classrooms throughout the campus. General information providers. Stage manager. Food providers. The entire staff of the presbytery who volunteered and filled in gaps where needed. We did it all, and we did it well!
Let me share just one example. For the first time in the history of Big Tent, the participants were invited to attend a local congregation. We opened the doors to five of our congregations: Second, Third, Oak Hill, Cote Brilliante, and Ferguson. Big Tent sent a bus full of participants to each congregation. The congregation served food, provided a program with an opportunity to respond from the Big Tent participants. The energy and enthusiasm of these programs created a spiritual awakening throughout the Big Tent event. The effects could be felt on Saturday in Bible classes, workshops, and worship.(read more here)
Furthermore, On Sunday morning, I preached at Cote Brillante. The congregation was still abuzz about Friday night! The patterns and habits of hospitality they displayed for Big Tent, were still present, as a new visitor came forward to join the church. This spiritual electricity continued through each of these congregations, as they rode the Big Tent wave of faith, mission, and purpose.
This is how it works. When we put our faith into action, we realize we are better than we thought we were, and we can do far more than we even imagine.
During the economic downturn of 2008, Rham Emanuel, the current mayor of Chicago famously said, “Let’s not waste a good recession!” Friends, let’s not waste a good Big Tent! Let’s use the energy, creativity, imagination, and plain old hard work we just displayed to continue bringing our presbytery together. It is amazing what we can do, when we turn faith into action and work together.
Craig M. Howard


  • Posted July 11, 2017 9:58 pm
    Dale Vandiver

    Sorry I could not attend because of other commitments, but happy that all went well. I trust this was good practice for next
    year’s GA in St. Louis.

  • Posted July 12, 2017 12:30 pm
    Craig Howard

    Good practice indeed! Craig.

  • Posted July 12, 2017 1:04 pm
    Diane McCullough

    The evening at Third Pres was a real highlight. The food was marvelous, the program educational and inspiring and their partnership with Dardenne was a very pleasant surprise. What a great example for all! We have so much to do, but we have great examples of congregations doing!!

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