By Katie Hoffman, Student Reporter
While people spend Valentine’s Day snuggled next to their significant other, others will spend their day forming new relationships at churches across Abilene.
Southern Hills Church of Christ’s Sweetheart Banquet is a tradition that cannot be broken. Since youth minister Ricky Pruitt has only been at the church a month and a half, he almost called off the event this year. But the seniors in the youth group just “had” to host the banquet, so he let them organize it.
The youth cooked a meal and decorated to create Valentine ambience, inviting anyone over age 55 to attend. When Pruitt overheard a widow attending tell a young man, “You are the most handsome man I have ever had my picture taken with,” he said the night was a success.
On Sunday, more than 100 adults older than 60 enjoyed the night. In fact, many have “adopted” youth in the group because their own grandchildren were unable to attend. Each dinner table had two teens per eight to 10 older people, and each table had talking questions ranging from “When were you baptized?,” to “How far have you ever traveled?” Prizes, hugs and bingo completed the night.
Also celebrating Valentine’s is Champions Church with its fourth annual Valentine’s Romance Banquet on Thursday at the Fairway Oaks branch of the Abilene Country Club. Designed as a place where men can bring their dates and make them feel special, the event is a fancy, fun, lighthearted night of dancing, dinner and fellowship. Each couple will personalize the night by submitting two songs meaningful to their relationship, which will be compiled into a CD played during the night, so the couples can dance to their songs and also have a memento of the occasion.
Sprinkled with a few short teachings, inspirations and testimonies, the black-tie affair celebrates dating, courting and marriage. Associate pastor Thomas Humphries has seen ticket sales increase over the years and said that even non-attendees of Champions Church have enjoyed the Valentine’s Banquet.
In a similar manner, guests at Beltway Park’s Valentine’s Day celebration will enjoy a dinner and watch world famous Ballet Magnificat perform. The Christian ballet group from Jackson, Miss., consists of the Alpha and Omega dance companies. The school of the arts raises up dancers to magnify the Lord, and the companies have toured internationally. According to the Beltway Park bulletin, it will be “an evening of worship and reflection on the goodness of the Most High God!” The unique aspect of this night is not only the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch a Christian professional dance company perform, but also the fact that 100 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales will support 2009 Beltway Mission Outreaches, including Ireland, Israel, Mozambique, Peru and Mexico. Ballet-only tickets remain on sale all week for only $12 and can be purchased online at www.itickets.com.