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UNRESTRICTED FRIENDS OF THE GROOM DONATIONS
Friends of the Groom Theater Company turned 35 this year.
We have a lot to be thankful for in our three and half decades:
· A 795,000 mile journey to 40 states and 4 continents
· Over 4200 performances and workshops
· A combined audience of 400,000
· And one vision—to communicate the Christian message in a unique format that challenges minds, inspires hearts, and feeds souls
And we have a lot to be thankful for in this past year:
We led three separate weeks of workshops in a behavioral care hospital, helping children and young people tell their stories, experience an affirming community, and imagine a hopeful future. Each week ended with a short performance by the patients, and after one performance a staff therapist wrote: “I was filled with joy and hope as I listened and watched the show….This experience seemed to accomplish in a few hours what sometimes takes me weeks to accomplish in therapy with a client.” We’ve been asked to continue these rewarding weeks on an ongoing basis three times a year, and we’re actively looking for other care facilities where we can offer the program.
In the past twelve months, we presented 113 performances and 59 workshops at churches, schools, hospitals, and conferences. After one three day visit to a church, a congregation member wrote: “You bestowed upon us a very special gift this weekend. The pieces you presented were beautifully written and wonderfully acted.” And after a day-long women’s retreat, a leader emailed us: “The ladies are saying this is the best conference yet and were so touched by what you guys shared.” This year over 40% of our performances were aimed at youth, and 28% were offered for free or for a reduced cost. And thanks to generous donors, we’ll be making many more trips in the coming year in the low-mileage used minivan we were able to purchase in November.
These many reasons to give thanks have not come without some sacrifices. I won’t lie—there have been times in our history when I felt overwhelmed in the face of an uncertain future. But whenever I’ve been discouraged, God has provided a gift of hope. The hope that comes when I see our work has touched someone: A mother tells me her child can’t stop singing a praise song they learned at a VBS; or a roomful of alienated teenagers suddenly gel into a supportive group after a week of workshops; or a church member confesses that they’ll never pray the Lord’s Prayer the same way after watching us perform in worship. The hope that comes from the work itself: those moments of purpose when you feel like the lines you’re saying on stage are not your own, but come from a deep well of the Spirit—or as Jeremiah described it, the urge to speak God’s word is like “a fire in the bones.” And the hope that comes from people like you, who have faithfully supported us over the years with money, prayers, and words of affirmation.
So—at age 35—Friends of the Groom is far from done. But we need your help to keep our future hopeful. First, we need your financial help to continue and increase our work. And second, we need your prayers for more opportunities to perform, teach, and minister both in this country and abroad. (We are currently considering an invitation we received to perform and minister in Australia.)
I hope you’ll prayerfully consider helping us this year.
Yours in Christ,
Tom Long, Director
Friends of the Groom Theater Company
P.S. You could help us celebrate our 35th anniversary with an extra gift of $35, $350, or $3500 dollars!