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UNRESTRICTED FRIENDS OF THE GROOM DONATIONS
“This was a phenomenal gift! The depth and sincerity of the participants was so inspiring. What a wonderful program.” –Audience Member after a student led Improv Worship service
“I learnt that I am worthy…We will have a better atmosphere at the workplace because of this.” –Participant after a week-long workshop for women coming out of human trafficking
“…a retreat like none other I have ever attended. The Friends of the Groom was a fabulous troupe…And I loved the way they brought all generations into the program.” –Retired Presbyterian Minister after attending a congregational weekend retreat
The quotes above highlight our ongoing work in three areas where we need your help.
Improv Worship: In 2018 we organized a team of student worship leaders, trained them in the use of improvisational theater techniques, and then helped them lead a series of experimental worship services that combined improvised stories, music, prayers, and scenes. Now we’re ready to expand the program to include adult performers.
Mission Trips: We’ve formed a relationship with an organization in Asia that works with women coming out of human trafficking. In April of 2018 we held a week long “training” for the women at two locations overseas—guiding them through a process of sharing and storytelling. The activities helped build community and allowed the participants to communicate their feelings and experiences in a healing and positive way. We’ve just learned that we may have an opportunity to return to Asia to continue the work, and go further—designing and leading a retreat for the women.
Weekends and Performances: We continue to lead congregational weekends and perform—using theater to communicate the Christian message to all ages with fresh images and empowering activities. In 2018 we traveled over 22,000 miles and reached an audience of more than 16,000 in seven states and two countries.
And to add a fourth area--Behavioral Care: After eight years working with children and adolescents at a local behavioral care facility, we have now moved the work to a different organization’s treatment center. Unfortunately, the funding at the new location is less than a third of what was available with the previous location—but we have new opportunities to design theater activities that support the mental health skills the young people are learning in their regular therapy.
We have a lot to be thankful for. Speaking of which, let me add one more quote: “I know—on a profoundly deeper level—just how much God loves me.”—Tom Long, after quadruple bypass surgery. By now most of you know I had open heart surgery on Good Friday of 2018—but I was back to work and feeling better than ever six weeks later. The prayers and support of a great many people contributed to my recovery, and once again I discovered: when life takes a frightening turn, sometimes God shows up in a new way. In the midst of the event I experienced what I can only call a supernatural peace.
Now I’m looking forward to new challenges. But I need your help to keep moving ahead with our Improv Worship project, our mission trips, and our behavioral care activities—as well as our ongoing schedule of retreat weekends and performances. I hope you’ll prayerfully consider supporting us this year.
Yours in Christ,
Tom Long, Director
Friends of the Groom
P.S. As our work has moved into new mission-oriented areas, our income from fees has declined. We need your help more than ever to make up the difference.