Happy birthday, ASF!
The 1st Sunday in August will be our 10th anniversary of
the 1st service at ASF!
To help celebrate ASF’s birthday Henri the Cupcake Truck will be at A Simple Faith Church this Sunday, July 30th from 10:30 until 11:30 am for the second annual Cupcake Day! It was a huge success last year, so let’s make it even better this year! Bring your sweet tooth!!!! 100% of all money collected will go to A Simple Faith Church. Please share!!!
Nina and I were not at the very first day that Simple Faith came together, but we like to think we may have been there for the second meeting. They were already up and coming by then, because I remember we already had the familiar folding chairs by then. I remember the original Ronnie, Sean, and Bill Evett trio, and I later became an extreme fan of the early renditions of “Sawmill Gravy and the Biscuits”. How could they miss with a pretty girl singer, an Eric Clapton look-alike on keyboards, and a beatnik on bongos in the back. And then of course, there were Ronnie’s little talks… I could rummage through a million of them…one time he went into a long story about an “insurgent” in the setting of the Iraq War, captured, tortured, and persecuted beyond belief in his own country, and then he wrapped it up by showing us that “revolutionary” could have been Jesus. He weaves History and the 21st Century seamlessly into almost everything he tells us.
For our family, it became even more personal when he christened two of our grandchildren in separate ceremonies and baptized our grown son in the Gulf of Mexico. And, of course, he has been nearby for any medical emergencies or mental hardships we might occasionally encounter. Nope, I don’t have any good photos of Ronnie, but I sure have some lasting good memories of his words. Attached is an essay I wrote back in about 2014 when, when we moved to that office building on Bud’s Alley, and I wanted to remember how far we had come, little knowing we would eventually come home to the place we are today.
Garrett and Nina Horn
a simple faith
We were looking for a place. A place to gather and hear good words. We had tried a couple of churches, and couldn’t find the right place. One church looked quite new, with soaring arches. A beautiful place, very quiet, with a pastor, somewhat stoic, who had good words, but they were spoken too rigidly, and we just couldn’t quite understand. But still, we wanted to hear good words, so we tried a different place. It wasn’t a steepled church, but an abandoned bank building, sitting right next to the Seagrove Village Market. The “church”, we soon realized, wasn’t the building at all, but it was the group of people that were coming to hear the good words, and it wasn’t just the words they were seeking. I’ve never quite known what “ragtag” or “motley” ever meant, and probably the better label would be to say this was a congregation of “assorted” people. They had surely come from other churches, a multitude of named denominations, in their search for good words, but they hadn’t quite found the Spirit that should be dwelling in those words. They were dressed a bit differently, more casually than the average church goer. My wife and I had always worn shoes to church, often shiny and almost new. These people wore whatever they wore on a normal day, whether it be flip-flops, cargo pants, or blue jeans.
These people were looking for good words, and they spoke them to each other as they passed through the door. It had been so much more solemn, to me, in the churches of the past. But then again, this wasn’t a church. This was an old, slightly-used bank building, with the cashier’s counter still intact, to use for an altar. But this wasn’t blasphemy. This was practicality. This was stripping all the drapes and curtains off the robes of what religion had bound itself up with, in the past. This was just a bunch of people coming together to hear good words. In the beginning, with just a promise for a budget, the bunch brought beach chairs to set up on the bare floor of the bank, and it must have seemed as irreverent as you could possibly be, just gathered to hear good words in an old bank building, sitting on beach chairs.
But it was more than good words. It was good music as well. We were greeted by guys with guitars and a piano, and some of them were in sandals, or some, simply barefoot. It was Sean Dietrich, sitting behind his electric piano, poised with his inherent talent of seemingly effortless, soulful music, and his constant companion of Starbucks coffee. It was Billy McConnell, the ever-present unofficial ambassador of good will of Seagrove, on the big bass fiddle. They called themselves the Biscuits, but it was even better than that. The long version was “Sawmill Gravy and the Biscuits”, and I couldn’t help but think, it was each individual, each Biscuit, bringing his voice and instrument to the song, and what was covering them, what held them together as a group, was The Gravy, also known as the Spirit of God…
The music was a mixture: an occasional standard hymn, usually with a timely tempo, then followed by a gospel spiritual that could have come from the Mississippi Delta or, possibly, Motown. It wasn’t uncommon to hear a Beatles tune sneak in for a bit, perhaps disguised as a jazz song. It was always rousing and fun, and just put people in the right mood to hear good words.
Now, most of the churches I have been to have had a similar format: Music to begin with, sometimes a reading of the scripture, and then the pastor climbs the pulpit, and preaches the sermon. This was different from the start. After the music subsided, one of the Biscuits, just the guy on rhythm guitar, Ronnie McBrayer, fiddled with his microphones for a while, smiled and greeted a few friends in the crowd, told a joke or two, teased Stuart, the grand old codger who played lead guitar, and then he just talked to us…
There wasn’t a sermon to be found. Just good words about the Love of God. Just a journey through the history of believers who had shown the path so many years before. It was a presentation of folk wisdom from a guy who had studied a lot about the world of Jesus, and had studied a lot about the world of today, and was always finding a way to bind them together into a pathway we could follow. Ronnie has a way with words that seems to start from multiple places. He seems to talk to you almost as if he is rambling about some ordinary incident, like the time his dog got stuck on the roof. Then he changes to a bit of history taken from the first books ever written by the Christians. Then, from a third place, a place you maybe didn’t even know was ever in these stories, a message seems to appear where they all come together in a “moment of knowing”, which is often so silent and moving, you could hear a pin drop, and feel moisture welling in your eyes.
Good words can come from anywhere, but these good words just have a way of changing you, of making you want to be a better person; to triumph over your indifferences, and try to make a better world out there; if only with a shared deeper friendship that encompasses you when you walk into Simple Faith.
Written by Garrett Horn
from the “biscuits” to the “backsliders”
The original “Biscuits” – Billy McConnell on bass, Bala Boyd on percussion, Matt Miller on fiddle, Sean Dietrich on keyboards, Stuart Wood and Ronnie on guitar. Bala’s wife Joni, Sean and Ronnie provided the vocals.
By the time ASF moved to WaterColor, Tim Ryals was playing drums, and Ricky Stanfield was wandering in and out playing banjo and just about anything else available as needed.
This past year, Stuart retired and Kevin Simonsen stepped into his place.
I’ll let the pictures and Garrett’s stellar description of our awesome band speak for themselves.
COMMENTS AND MEMORIES…
A Simple Faith is special to us, because we felt connected and part of the family the first day we walked in. We had been searching for a church for the better part of a year and were unable to find a fit. Once we experienced ASF, we knew we had found our church home.
We were especially drawn to the music ministry and that the music selections were not limited to “Christian-only” music. There are so many songs that have great messages, but would not be considered by most to be “church music”. The music became even more special when I (Kevin) began to play in the church band.
ASF is a blessing to us and our community. We are very thankful to be part of it.
Kevin & Denise Simonsen
I REMEMBER: I remember potlucks, friendly faces, amazing sermons, lots of laughing and some crying because things would be so moving. I’ve met some of my most favorite people while attending services at ASF. I remember when we could get up and share a little bit about a non-profit or volunteer work that we were doing so others who may be interested could get involved. Joni Boyd and I built the first website and I worked on the initial newsletter and I also remember working the Painting for a Cause event in Watercolor. I also remember the time the entire congregation each received $100 to go out and do good in the world. That was such a cool experience. …Melissa Wheeler
And this from Billy McConnell: Don’t forget that someone replaced the money in the collection plate before the end of the service. I think it was around 10 grand!!!! WOW!!
“I REMEMBER one of the first times I went to ASF. We were in the Publix shopping center where the liquor store is now. One aspect of Ronnie’s talk was “Buddy Jesus” and one of the songs was “Marching to Zion”. There was Linny in the front row, marching! Of course she was! I thought to myself, this is the craziest place I’ve ever been and couldn’t imagine from that point forward going anywhere else!” …Garner Chandler
“A Simple Faith is a place that my family goes to receive God’s love and be encouraged to go out into our community and share that Love with others. The way God speaks through Ronnie has been such a blessing to Joe and me. We both feel as though we learn how to apply The Word of God into our daily lives and that makes us better people, parents, and spouses. We love A Simple Faith!!!” …Kathryn McMillan and family
“Uplifting comes to mind when I think of ASF. Ron’s messages are not only scriptural but sprinkled with secular history and humor. Through ASF services, Wednesday Bible studies and outreach missions; I find the people to be genuine and friendly. As if that isn’t enough, the musical talents of the band ranges from a solemn to toe-tapping experience. Attending ASF is “living water”. …Patti Stanley
new bible study beginning in late august!
Come back often to check for details! For information, or questions: email Jen at: email@example.com.
“The Traveling Twenties”
(AKA Random Acts of Kindness)
It started one day with an eye-opening realization. Not everyone had enough to eat or a friend or smile or heat or even a place to lay their head at night. Everyone was different. Everyone was in need and some were in need more than others. Twenties found their way into some very interesting adventures when they were put into the hands of those who cared but were unable to do. Those people then put twenties into the hands of those who saw but didn’t have twenties to give. When hearts say help and God says move, adventures are soon to follow!!!
Adventure 14: A Little Hope
Sometimes there is no story. Sometimes you go by so quickly you can’t even read the sign. Sometimes the only words exchanged are thank you. But what drew you in, what made you make a U-turn, what caused the interruption in your day was the picture your mind and heart saw. The couple sitting on the corner. Both had to be hot and worn out and her head was leaning on his shoulder. And you just had to share a little hope.
Can we talk???
If you would like to have a Chat With Cyndi Talty call 850-585-0370
and plan to meet with her.
NOTICE: I will be out of town the week of July 24-28 so all classes that week are cancelled. Regular classes resume July 31.
You are invited to a Gentle Yoga Class with Nancy Gross, MS, RYT200+ Monday classes at A Simple Faith now will be at 11:15 am and Thursday at 8:30 am. Classes at 769 Eden Drive, Point Washington, Florida 32459 will be on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday at 9:00 am. Please call or email your questions and reservation. 850-797-6926 or firstname.lastname@example.org
calling all writers!
If you have read a book that you would like to share and which would be appropriate for our Readers’ Corner please send me the title and name of author!
If you are a writer, columnist, or author (or you simply just enjoy writing!!) and would like your work to be featured in the READERS’ CORNER, please let us know! we’d love to have you!!!
Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News? by Philip Yancey
“Why does the church stir up such negative feelings?” Philip Yancey has been asking this all his life as a journalist. His perennial question is more relevant now than ever: research shows that favorable opinions of Christianity have plummeted drastically—and opinions of Evangelicals have taken even deeper dives.
Yet while opinions about Christianity are dropping, interest in spirituality is rising. Why the disconnect? Why are so many asking, “What’s so good about the Good News?”
In Vanishing Grace, Yancey shows the desperate need our world has for grace, and how Christians can truly make the gospel good news again. In this video-based small group Bible study, participants will explore what kind of news is good to a culture that thinks it has rejected the Christian version. Wading deep into the transformative power of grace, they will hear illuminating stories of how faith can be expressed in ways that disarm even the most cynical.
Communion Servers:Contact Barbara Tape to serve communion: email@example.com.
Tuesdays, The Prayer Boys meet at 8:00am. Contact Kevin Simonsen at 970-259-1748 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mentor – Become a mentor to a child in South Walton County today!
Please pray boldly! Philip and Linda Singleton’s son Ashley had a 4-wheeler accident yesterday afternoon. He has a blood clot on the front of his head which hopefully will dissolve. The problem is spinal fluid blood… no way to drain, no way to repair and is life threatening. Prayers please for him to survive. They don’t know how much damage to his brain was done or his spine. He will be a minimum of 6 weeks in ICU in a trauma unit in Columbus, GA. Please pray for Ashley and his new baby 7 weeks old and his precious wife Natalie.
Please pray for my father Don and mother Kate as they transition to assisted living at Grand Boulevard. My dad started rehab after a stay in the hospital July 4th weekend. Don has Parkinson’s and requires daily assistance. Kate is very active and will be looking for new activities (such as card playing) to make new friends. They have moved from St. Petersburg, where they lived very close to my brother, Kris and his girlfriend, Cindy. Please pray for all of us, as we all adjust to the new living situation for my parents.
Blessings, Kevin and Denise Simonsen
5 rounds of chemo, 4 blood transfusions, 2 platelet transfusion, 2 cryoprecipitate transfusions, 2 bone marrow biopsies, 3 spinal taps, 2 weeks in the hospital & 19 blood withdraws. Scotty is officially in FULL REMISSION!!!!!! We will now spend the next 3 1/2 years keeping this beast of a disease at bay. Thank You Sacred Heart and Nemours for all the wonderful care. WHO SAYS PRAYERS DON’T WORK? Let’s all continue encircling Scotty with prayer!
if you’re shopping at Amazon, please don’t forget to participate in our “His Children” mission.
When you order go to smile.amazon.com and put in the charity name “His Children Kevil Kentucky.” Amazon will donate 0.5% of your order total to the organization. It will help provide supplies for “His Children.”