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Summer Celebration 2019 offered restoration, reconciliation and renewal

From the moment guests walked into Celebration Central to grab a program on Wednesday, to the last firework flare they saw on Friday, Summer Celebration attendees were immersed in conversations of restoration, reconciliation and renewal.

Anna Moseley  | 

Summer Celebration attendees sitting in classroom lecture

Summer Celebration brought more than 2,000 individuals from across the country to campus in June.

More than 2,000 people, an increase from last year, from across the nation and around the world gathered on Lipscomb University’s campus June 28-30 for Summer Celebration—an annual three-day community lectureship filled with faith, fun and fellowship for the whole family. 

Through lectures, keynote sessions, worship opportunities, films and activities, attendees focused on the theme The Holy Spirit Poured Out: Restoration, Reconciliation and Renewal. 

Once Sharon Adcock, a frequent attendee from Louisville, Kentucky, learned the theme for the year, she knew she had to make it to the lectures. 

“I saw the theme and immediately thought, ‘I need to hear what God is trying to teach me.’” said Adcock. “I registered for Summer Celebration two days before it started and faced many obstacles on my way to campus. I didn’t make it there until Thursday, but after I went to my first session, it was clear why God wanted me to be here.”

Man standing at podium leading singing

Worship in song was part of Morning and Evening Celebration sessions.

In 1975, Jim and Julie Ellis began their yearly tradition of traveling from Owensboro, Kentucky, to Nashville for Summer Celebration, known then as Lipscomb Lectures. 

“Over the years, we have had the opportunity to learn from some wonderful speakers, like Willard Collins, Harold Hazelip, Carl McKelvey and more,” said Julie Ellis. “Summer Celebration really serves as a time of renewal for us each year.”

This year, featured keynote speakers included Randy Harris, Anthony Walker, Mark Lanier and several others. University professors and ministers from across the country taught deep, thought-provoking lessons as they intermingled doctrine with inspirational stories bringing theology to life. 

“Every year we are impressed and encouraged by the level of the speakers’ presentations,” said Jim Ellis. “The lessons shared are not only educational but are also inspirational. Without Summer Celebration, there are so many speakers and experts we would never have a chance to hear in person.”

Crowd of people in class with speaker at podium

Summer Celebration offered hundreds of sessions to attendees.

Both L. Randolph Lowry, Lipscomb University president, and his wife, Rhonda, led panel discussions on timely issues facing God’s people, providing insight and understanding. 

In between seminars and activities, guests had a chance to learn more about the featured exhibitions such as Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team, Eternal Threads, Healing Hands International and more. 

“We have learned about many of the nonprofits and organizations that we now support,” said Julie Ellis. “Each year we get updates on organizations our church is invested in and we share any new information with the rest of our church.”

Young girl sitting at desk in classroom

Classes were offered for all ages including a full offering for children and teens.

Summer Celebration allows Christians near and far to cultivate relationships with one another, and provides long-distance friends an opportunity to unite in worship and fellowship each year. 

“Everyone that I have met over the years is so intelligent and kind,” said Adcock. “Summer Celebration allows people with different walks of life from all over the nation to come together in worship and in prayer, and I think that is so powerful.”

The three-day spiritual feast of inspiring lessons and speakers concluded in an evening of family fun, music and fireworks at the free Bison Block Party. 

Fireworks with Allen Bell Tower to the side

The Bison Block Party fireworks is the traditional ending to Summer Celebration each year.

“The Bison Block Party exposes the community to the college campus and provides locals and visitors with a really impressive firework show,” said Julie Ellis. “Lipscomb is such a family and that feeling really spills over into the guests’ experiences.” 

Audio recordings of Summer Celebration classes and sessions are available on the  event website

— Photos by Kristi Jones and Meagan Jordan