That they shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years. Rev 20:4
GOD'S FEAST OF TABERNACLES
SUNRIVER-BEND OREGON-THOUSAND TRAILS
THERE WAS A NEED FOR
A FEAST LOCATION IN THE AREA
In 1987, four brethren from California and Idaho met in the Bend, Oregon area to find an appropriate place for Christians to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. During that time many Brethren from various churches began reorganizing and transitioning as God led them and were making changes which included setting up a facility for observing the Feast of Tabernacles for Brethren from surrounding areas. Some brethren had heard about a great resort area in the Northwest called 'Sunriver' that could possibly be a good place to stay for the eight-day period. So the small group of individuals set out to meet together and check out various sites in the Northwest.
When reviewing Bend-Sunriver Or. the group of Elders and Brethren immediately saw the potential for Sunriver as a good place to worship God as it was in a beautiful pine covered terrain with Mt.Bachelor and the Three Sisters mountain range providing a fantastic background. The group checked out the larger Sunriver Resort Lodge and other potential meeting places for services in the Sunriver area complex including the Sunriver Thousand Trails facility. They found that the Sunriver area offered just about everything a Feast goer could need. Shopping, grocery, restaurants, fun activities for families and very nice accommodations consisting of condos and private home rentals and RV campgrounds all in one central area.
Within the Thousand Trails facility the group found its lovely rustic meeting lodge with a massive stone fireplace and large professional kitchen that could accommodate up to 150 people all in a palatial setting. Upon discussion and prayer and the little group believed that God had finally led them to a place where "God could place His name" to assemble for the Feast of Tabernacles. The Thousand Trails RV & Campground facility Meeting Hall was decided upon as providing the best overall facility for services and God's people. The meeting hall facility was located only 5 miles south of the hub of Sunriver activity and accommodations. And only 30 minutes from Bend's airport. It was unanimous - the Sunriver Thousand Trails meeting hall/lodge provided a clean, natural and secluded environment for services and congregational activities amidst nature's own beautiful palatial setting.
Everyone agrees that the meeting facility at Thousand Trails is an excellent Feast location for services and activities. It is nestled in a clearing just yards away from the gentle Deschutes river behind the building with walking trails and a foot bridge. Brethren love the peaceful intimate setting away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, Yet only 30 minutes from Bend Oregon airport!
FILLING NEEDS OF THE BRETHREN
The first meetings were held in Fall 1987 and the Meeting Lodge has accommodated groups of God's children yearly since then. Many return year after year.
Sunriver to this day continues to fill the vacuums created by transitioning Brethren who are between Churches along their Christian walk. And for those ready to reach out across the table and embrace Brethren from other Church areas and become a bridge builder of peace. Gods spirit is constantly within the living moving bodies of believers as they strive to search for and follow ways to please Him.
Over the years, Sunriver-Thousand Trails Feast site has provided a safe and enjoyable haven for Brethren coming from various Church groups who want to observe the Feast. Providing a Festival site for Brethren to not only fellowship and make friends but share their talents and abilities, teach and learn. Enjoying opportunities to work together as a team on projects such as the annual Community Service Day. Or to just visit another Feast Site and round out their experiences with Brethren from other areas and worship God together. Providing ample opportunity to satisfy much needed spiritual fellowship with like minded Brethren and serve others. Taking part in building bridges that some only think is possible after Christ returns.
Some Brethren who come to Sunriver attend weekly services in their home town but their congregation cannot sponsor a Feast. For many years Sunriver has hosted Brethren from all over the nation. Most come from the western states such as California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Arizona. Brethren come together to rejoice together and worship the Lord God and His son Christ Jesus.
All assemble, and enjoy the Feast in peace with the understanding and expectations that from congregation to congregation Brethren are accustomed to differing formats in services, spiritual traditions or some variance in commonly beliefs. And in the process discover the many commonly held foundational beliefs that bind them together in Christ's name.
Whenever asked how the Sunriver Feast site has continued to be a success for so long, long time attendees can only reflect and observe that Sunriver has always filled specific immediate needs of Feast keepers and has always sought to provide a true spiritual and physical millennial setting fashioned after a future time, after Christ's return, when all peoples will have left the old physical life behind and appear before the Lord, teachable and ready for His instructions.
MAKING NEW DISCOVERIES ALONG THE WAY
When God's children attend an independent Feast site and focus on the oneness they share rather than any diversity they may have, remarkable things happen and new insights are discovered. The Lord opens doors when Brethren submit themselves to one another in the 'love of the Lord'. This allows Brethren to look for the oneness they share with others and build on it. Whatever diversity there may have been pales in comparison. Paul said differences in opinions will be present in this life until God's people all come to the unity of faith - under Messiah's rule on earth after His return. So by getting over the differences and on with developing what is shared in common then catapults Brethren into a new realm of fellowship. Many feel that this is precisely why the Sunriver Feast Site has been a success for over 30 years.
At Sunriver - Thousand Trails, Brethren have assembled,
celebrated, and observed the Feast together and ultimately
discover how they share the same spirit of God and the
same mind and heart for the Lord while sometimes holding
various doctrinal positions. What is often thought to be
impossible is found to be otherwise. New light is shed on
Christ's words, " I have flocks you know not of". This
discovery forms a refreshing foundation for those attending
the Sunriver - Thousand Trails Feast Site. Festival attendees
have successfully made lifelong friendships with Brethren
from among various congregations across the board over
the years. Such friendships are built upon the common bond
of love of Jesus Christ, the Father and the future which they will establish once Christ has returned. Brethren make new friends, stay in touch throughout the year as they return to their respective congregations. We have found over the years that many return to Sunriver-Thousand Trails every other Feast or so just to spend time keeping the Feast with old friends and make some new friends as well. And carry on 'the Bridge Building' which has proven so successful.
Building one bridge at a time through love of Christ through the Brethren, submitting one to another in the fear of the Lord with the understanding that we all are in preparation for yielding to Christ and HIS direction when He begins His millennial reign which is what the Feast of Tabernacles pictures. God's people are drawn together at Feast time to honor God the Father and His son the Lord Jesus the Christ and embrace their plans for us. Just a s Jesus will draw His Church to Himself at His return to forever be with Him. While Brethren observe the Feast together, they respect one another and what each values most in one another's walk. They share those most important things they all have common; a desire to celebrate the Feast having a heart for the Lord and longing for Jesus's return and millennial reign pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles.
GRASPING THE BIGGER PICTURE
It's been learned , that when Brethren hope and desire after God's own heart, focus on Christ and our heavenly Father, as a body - one Body of believers, with one mind and heart at this special time of the Feast of Tabernacles - a bigger picture emerges of a future time when all those from varied faiths, traditions and understandings from around the world will finally be brought together, to see Christ as He is at His appearing. No longer 'seeing' as through a glass darkly, but be transformed and taught and lead under Christ’s direction for a thousand years (Eph 4:13-16) which The Feast of Tabernacles portrays. A time when we can say, "How good and how pleasant it is for God's people to dwell together" in (this anticipation) of peace and unity (Psa 133:1). It can be concluded that this is Sunriver's historical basis and goal in sponsoring a Feast site. The Sunriver Feast Committee believes through observance and celebration of the Lord's Feast days including the Feast of Tabernacles that God's church, His people, are blessed in meeting together to worship God the Father and Jesus the Christ at the Lord's appointed times (Leviticus 23). Until the Lord comes, our Feast celebration and observance is about many things and therefore not necessarily about ‘what page we are on today’ theologically but about sharing the same hope and anticipation for what shall be and what we will become as we submit to one another in love and the fear of the Lord (1Cor 2:9) As it is written, eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
Read more on Sunriver's About Us page.