The History of FOCUS
Focus is an acronym for Fellowship Of Christians United to Serve. The origin according to John Nishimuta: "It was about 2:30 am in late summer of 2015, when I was awakened by a strong sense that God wanted us to be instrumental in uniting the Christian community of this region. The sense was an event that would invite the participation of many churches and ministries to be a time of enjoying each other, setting aside any sense of competition, and becoming aware of the goodness of unity (Psalm 133:1) while sharing the combined strength of our ministries to the broader community."
A daunting task indeed! Casual days of retirement for John and Bea soon took another turn. Not knowing where to start, they met with a person experienced in working with other denominations to find the best way to proceed. From there, they were pointed in the right direction and began contacting other Churches. First stop was with the pastor of All Saints Lutheran Church. Then consultations with pastors of Fellowship of the Hills, Antioch Baptist, St. Francis of Assisi, The Vineyard Church, The House of Prayer, and New Life Family Church. Other Ministries soon became involved as well: Joshua's Warriors, His Victory Riders the local chapter of the Christian Motorcycle Association, interdenominational prayer groups and independent churches in Hiawassee and Hayesville.
It was determined that it was to be a Festival atmosphere with food, music, arts and crafts etc. where all people could come together from all walks of life and situations. Churches and Ministries serving and those wanting information or help could meet together at one time and one place.
Our heartfelt thanks go to Lamar Paris, Sole Commissioner of Union County and to Mickey Cummings, the director of Union County Farmers Market for allowing the use of their wonderful facility.
To coordinate the festival an inter-denominational Steering Team was formed. Our special thanks go to Dr. Larry Flegle, WUCG-FM 93.1 for acquiring musicians; Tim Massey, sound system; Joy Nywening, liaison for the Farmer's Market and coordinating vendors; Jay Sills, pastor liaison; LuAnn Head and Bill Walker, business sponsorship and publicity; Colleen Orchanian, youth activities; and Jim Brown, facility needs. Thanks also for prayer support from Lydia Long, Awake America, Jim Johnson, Hayesville Prayer Group and many others.
The first Festival took place April 16, 2016 at the Union County Farmers Market and was an encouraging success. And that's the beginning of what we hope and pray will be an annual event for all Christians serving this region of southern Appalachia.
PLEASE PRAY FOR CHRISTIANS TO BE UNITED WITH ITS MANY PARTS AS ONE BODY OF CHRIST THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT.