Tuesday, February 24, 2009


The Jesus House had retreats.
The most well-known was Conglomerate.
It was also the longest annual retreat.
The less well-known retreat was Recharge, a small winter retreat we hosted January of 1982 & 1983.
Recharge #1 was held at Wildwood, a Presbyterian camp East of Cincinnati with a great winter lodge.
The first year, Alan Sipple and I were speakers with worship music led by Jim Wilson & Alan Willoughby.
Workshops (The Jesus House always had lots of workshops at retreats) were led by Jim Wilson (Jesus on the Job), Nancy Lattimer (Attitudes Toward Handicapped), Rick Mapes (Attitudes Toward Divorce) and John Jaffe (Friendship). The cost was $14.00!

The following year we moved the retreat to Camp Birch in Yellowsprings, Ohio. We probably did this so we could go to Young's Dairy late at night and drink milk shakes. I spoke with music once again presented by Jim Wilson & Alan Willoughby. The workshop leaders were; Jim Wilson (Life Under the Son), Rick Mapes (Anger) and John Jaffe (The Lord's Prayer). I believe this was the year Rod Ellis created an incredible chicken stew for lunch.

Both of the Recharge retreats started on Friday evening and concluded on Saturday afternoon in time to return to the Jesus House for an evening concert from the Willoughby-Wilson Band.
These were small retreats with 20 or so people in attendance.

Conglomerate was different.
Larger retreat.
Larger scale.
Conglomerate was the brainchild of Grant Edwards and me. We cooked up the idea one afternoon in the library at CBS/CBC/CCU. It was a combined effort of Grant's Springfield ministry, The One Way House, and the Jesus House. Each year we had 100+ people in attendance. The eleven Conglomerate retreats were held in three locations; Camp Evergreen (a YMCA camp outside Piqua, Ohio, not far from my current office) Camp Wilson (another YMCA camp a little further north) and Camp Birch (conveniently located near Young's Dairy outside Yellowsprings, Ohio) The retreats featured a primary speaker, special musical guest and lots and lots of workshops. We also had quiet times; an essential part of Conglomerate where many people first learned how to experience personal devotions. Below you can read the list of speakers, musicians and workshop leaders.
The name, Conglomerate, was the creation of Christopher Adams! Yes, the adamsfishyodor guy. For the first year, he dubbed it, Conglomerate: A Weekend to God Your Head Together. The One Way House did not use the Conglomerate name the first year, but soon caught on to the beauty and essentialness of the name.

The first year, the cost of the weekend, which included five meals was $10.00. By the eleventh year the cost was a whopping $30.00!

Naturally there are lots of Conglomerate stories that could be told, and I would love to hear some of yours, but one of my favorites concerns something that occurred at the second Conglomerate. Dr. Foster related this story from his perspective during his talk at the third Jesus House Reunion.

Our custom was to baptize people on Sunday after our morning worship and before heading home. A girl named Bev wanted to be baptized on Saturday just before dinner. The day had been rainy and though the rain stopped as we gathered by the lake to see Bev baptized the sky was still covered with clouds. She and Mark Elliott, from the One Way House, walked down into the water, which was drab and dark because of a lack of sunlight. Mark lowered her into the water and just before he raised her up, the sun came through the clouds causing the lake to shimmer like it was coated with silver. Mark lifted Bev from the lake and the water ran off her like liquid silver. It remains the most beautiful baptism I have ever witnessed. I stood speechless staring at the water and Dr. Foster walked by me. I looked at him and he said, with tender emotion in his voice, "Doesn't it just make you miss God?"

(Historical note: Mark and Bev eventually married.)

A Year by Year Listing of Conglomerate
#1 - A Weekend to God Your Head Together
August 15-17, 1973, Camp Evergreen
Speaker: Gary Boys
Musical Guest: Grant Hammond
Workshops: Virgil Warren: Faith; Grayson Ensign: Second Coming of Jesus; Steve Seevers: Take Up Your Cross
Quiet Times created by Kent Odor featuring black rocks
Attendance: 120

#2 - A Time to Renew
August 16-18, 1974, Camp Evergreen
Speaker: Dr. Louis Foster
Musical Guest: Rising Hope
Workshops: Lewis Foster: Translating the Bible; Tom Friskney: I & II Thessalonians; Mikal Keefer: Communion
Quiet Time created by Grant Edwards featuring The Narrow Path to Life
Attendance: 135

#3 - See & Do
August 17-19, 1975, Camp Evergreen
Speaker: Bruce Montgomery (Campus Minister at Bowling Green University(ACT). Got lots of concert gigs from Bruce!)
Musical Guest: John Gould
Workshops: Bruce Montgomery; Worship & Ministry; MIkal Keefer: Confrontation; Lewis Foster: Hell (I wanted to title it "Dr. Foster Gives You Hell" but Grant nixed the idea.)
Attendance: 121

#4 - Open the Door . . . Wider
August 20-22, 1976, Camp Evergreen
Speaker: Doug Dickey (Campus Minister at Purdue University.
Musical Guest: Rick Roberts (Jon Owens from the One Way House, an African American guy led some worship. Rick Roberts is caucasian, with a gutsy voice. When Doug started speaking in one session he said, "I don't understand, the black guy sounds like a white guy and the white guy sounds like a black guy!)
Workshops: Doug Dickey: Personal Devotions; Lewis Foster: Philemon; Mikal Keefer; Possessions; Rick Roberts: World Hunger/missions.

#5 - Passing Through Trials
August 15-17, 1977, Camp Evergreen for the last time. (The director changed and the new guy didn't want us!)
Speaker: Tom Smith (Campus Minister at University of Cincinnati soon to be founding Senior Pastor at Fellowship Christian Church)
Musical Guest: Judson & Sharon
Workshops: Tom Smith: Pain; John Elliot: Praise; Mikal Keefer: Peer Pressure (Was he there every year? Almost. And we were glad!)
Attendance: 120

#6 - Dead to Self, Risen with Christ
August 18-20, 1978, First year at Camp Wilson
Speaker: Willy Walls (Campus Minister at Ball State. What is it with all these campus ministers? They were available, plus they really wanted to come knowing they would be speaking to mostly high school and college students.)
Musical Guest: Randy Matthews (Yes, Jesus House founder as well as one of the founders of contemporary Christian music)
Workshops: No record of the topics but he leaders were: Willy Walls, Lewis Foster, Mikal Keefer and Randy Matthews presented one on music.
Attendance: 110

#7 - One Day At A Time
August 17-19, 1979, Camp Wilson
Speaker: Lewis Foster
Musical Guest: Albrecht, Roley & Moore (All our musicians were great but for some reason these guys really stand out for me. They were absolutely fabulous!)
Workshops: Lewis Foster: Heaven; Mikal Keefer: Loneliness Within and Without Marriage; Tom Smith: Discovering Discipleship Through Evangelism
The Year of the Conglomerate Holy Hug!
Attendance: 100

#8 - And Does Not Change
August 15-17, 1980, Camp Wilson
Speaker: No record of who it was. Anyone remember?
Musical Guest: Chalice
Workshop Leaders: Mark Pruden: Romans 12:1-2; Tom Smith: II Timothy 2:2; Mikal Keefer & Kathy Sprinkle: Acts 2:42-47; Lewis Foster II Corinthians 9:8 (What's with all these Bible references? Were there no worship titles? No, we decided to try something different. Did it work? I think so, but it was the only time we did it.)
Attendance 105

#9 - Accepting Others, Accepting Yourself
August, 14-16 1981, Camp Wilson, the last year. Before the following year the dining hall burned down!)
Speaker: Don Finto (Absolutely incredible!)
Musical Guest: Gary Chapman (A few months before he won a Dove Award!)
Workshops: Don Finto: Worship; Mark Pruden: Singleness, Dating & other Difficulties; Adam & Eve Applebee: Marriage, Communication and Sex (Me thinks the clientele at Conglomerate was getting a little older...) Steve Schertzinger: Fellowship; Issac Sponfabre: Abraham, Yesterday & Today
Attendance: 150

#10 - Losing Your Foundation
August, 13-15 1982, Camp Birch (Bring on Young's Dairy!)
Speaker: Grant Edwards, Terry Fisher & Brown Bannister
Musical Guest: Brown Bannister
Workshops: Tom & Deb Smith: Parenting (Now I know the clientele has gotten older!); John Jaffee: Friendship; Brown Bannister: Experiencing Worship
Attendance: 100

#11 - Growing Up
August 19-21, 1983
Speaker: Don Finto (He was so good we had to bring him back.)
Musical Guest: Mike Hudson
Workshops: Mike Hudson: Anxiety; Terry Fisher: Vulnerability; Grant Edwards: Meditation; Michael Goldberg: Creativity; Don Finto: Maturity

The following couple of years, The One Way House, which by then was turning into or had turned into House Christian Fellowship and eventually re-named Fellowship Christian Church had a retreat they called Conglomerate but the Jesus House did not participate. In 1985 they had me speak at Conglomerate on Singleness & Singles Ministry. That was shortly before I was married.

This Week in History: Artists Who Performed the Fourth Weekend of February

1972 - Kent Odor, Alan Rarley
1973 - Florida Beach Team (A group of CBS/CBC/CCU students who went to Florida for Spring Break and told people about Jesus instead of drinking and getting into trouble. Of course, Kent Odor went with them so my guess is they got into a little trouble!)
1974 - John Gould
1975 - Sherry & Sharon (Sherry's daughter is getting married this weekend, meaning February 28, 2009!)
1976 - K-Players
1977 - One Lane Road
1978 - Marc O'Hara
1979 - Cathy Snyder
1980 - Windfall
1981 - Willoughby-Wilson Band
1982 - Cynthia Shallot, The Paul Stookey Film
1983 - Harriet Lewis


Anonymous said...

For some reason I only attended the second one. I wish there had been more, and I don't know why that was the only one. It was a good time!


Stu Roy said...

Please, do you still have any contact w/ Jim Wilson? I would love to be in touch with him. -- sturoylc@gmail.com