Throughout the last two and a half weeks, each 60th celebration banquet highlighted the everlasting bond OC mission workers and partners have developed over the years. San Jose concluded the journey with a fitting end – OC went home.
OC found its home in Northern California for the better part of its existence. Being back in the Bay Area felt right as the attendees hugged, shared and reunited after years apart. Adding to OC returning to its roots was the presence of several “heroes” in the OC community. Ed and Cecilia Murphy, Bill and Lynna Lawrence, Bill and Laurie Keyes, and Paul Stephan (to name a few) joined the celebration in San Jose, reuniting with fellow “heroes,” the Wilhelms, Cooks and Browns.
From the reception time to the end, a quiet moment or corner proved hard to find. Some people said they came to the celebration to reunite with people they hadn’t seen for over 50 years. All this emotion and reunion played into the response and impact of the program. The night sailed by, each piece more powerful than the next.
As the 60th celebrations came to a close it was easy to reflect on the impact of each. Personally, I enjoyed the history of it all. I cherished the friendships I renewed and the ones I developed.
In the beginning, this tour of celebration banquets was a daunting task. A lot of time, effort and planning went into making each event special. The events didn’t work like clockwork, challenges popped up at every turn, but after each night a solid confirmation of the importance of those five hours spent celebrating the work of the Lord resounded throughout the place – “take joy my King in what you hear, let it be a sweet, sweet sound to your ears.” (I Love You, Lord – Laurie Klein)