‘Latté Night Café’ Showcases Talent, Memories
“The Place to Be”
by Cadet Lisa Smith –
With steaming lattes, iced cappuccinos, freshly made doughnuts, and a showcase of great talent from all over the Western Territory, the Late Night Café became “the place to be” for young delegates at the end of a full day of Congress activities.
Captain Danny Abella, coordinator for the Late Night Café, lined up a wide variety of performing groups, and during three nights of programming, the crowd enjoyed corps worship bands and creative ministries groups, reminisced through 30 years of service corps memories, and jammed to the rhythms of Christian reggae group, CHRISTAFARI.
Ken Fankhauser, a delegate from Anchorage Citadel, Alaska, says, “The informal atmosphere of the late night café made it great.” Each night, different local Christian comedians provided comic relief as they emceed their way through the evening’s lineup. Fankhauser enjoyed seeing the different styles of worship and ministry that came through as 10 different corps presented their individual talents. He especially appreciated the Phoenix South Mountain One Way Dancers under the leadership of Lt. Fred Preston as they performed their “holy hip hop” dance routine on Saturday night. “It was cool to see a corps group so well-organized and using an unusual talent to the glory of God, ” says Fankhauser.
Service Corps Reunion
The Service Corps 30th Anniversary reunion on Sunday night also was a highlight for many of the late night crowd, giving opportunity for past service corps members to share their missions experiences with each other. Captain Robert Rudd (Southwest DHQ) and Darlene Ayres started off the sharing time, representing the very first Western Territorial Service Corps team from 1966. Rudd served in Peru, while Ayres spent her summer in Bolivia. Several years after her service corps experience, Ayres went back to Bolivia and now, more than 30 years later, she continues to serve in that country as a lay missionary.
Kevin White, host and coordinator of the reunion, says, “My impression of the service corps reunion is that it was marked by relationships. It was wonderful to see teams reunited and, with joy and laughter, enthusiastically sharing memories with each other.
“The impact of service corps on our territory can’t be overstated,” White adds. “Since their service corps experience, we’ve seen so many young adults take the next step in their service, becoming even more committed local officers and corps leaders, and a significant amount of them committing to Salvation Army officership.”
Newly-commissioned Lieutenant Mark King found the Late Night Café a great way to relax after an exhausting day full of Congress events. “It was great listening to good music and spending time with friends.” For King, it was the Sunday night CHRISTAFARI concert that stood out for him as the highlight of the Late Night Café.
CHRISTAFARI, whose lead singer, Erik Sundin, is the son of Majors Wesley and Ruth Sundin (Northwest DHQ), were an instant favorite with the late night crowd. The nine-member band played rhythmic Jamaican music–with its strong Christian message–brilliantly, and the audience rose to their feet, joining in the celebration. The band’s ministry and interaction with the young people was also extraordinary. One young Salvationist commented, “They didn’t just play and then leave, but they came out into the café after their set, staying and talking with anyone who wanted to.”
Worship Leader Bill Nunes (Southwest DHQ) wrapped up the final Late Night Café on Sunday night with a time of praise and celebration as the Gospel choir, made up of 50 young people from around the territory, sang and led in worship to the Lord and in celebration of the Victory found only in Jesus.
“The young people of this Territory really know how to worship!” says Territorial Youth Secretary Major Rudy Hedgren, “and I can think of no better way to end the Victory Congress weekend than the way we did at the Late Night Café, with hundreds of young people lifting their voices in praise to God.”