Growing up, one of the yearly events I enjoyed most was the Moore family reunion. It always reminded me of the phrase the movie “Field of Dreams” made famous: “If you build it, he will come.” Hold a Moore family reunion, and relatives far and wide were sure to show up.

This one-day event was usually held in a pavilion at Van Meter State Park near my grandparents’ Missouri home. Aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces climbed out of their cars with picnic baskets full of food. The family spread out a feast made up of everything from homemade bread to fresh-picked corn on the cob to Grandma’s world-famous apple pie. All you had to do was walk past the table and you’d gain five pounds.

The food and family made a Moore reunion special, but something else always added to the fun: music. It seemed as though everyone in our family played some kind of musical instrument. As the reunion got going, Uncle Arvey and my dad pulled out their guitars; one of my uncles pulled out his fiddle; another one, a harmonica; and little amplifiers were plugged in all around the room. Soon, the musicians began tuning up.

I came to love the sound of this chaos. Somehow in the midst of it all, the instruments began to find each other and the next thing you knew, harmony burst forth.  My relatives spent the rest of the day pouring out their hearts and souls, playing and singing until the sun went down.

Something special happens when families get together. It takes only a short time to reconnect, and you realize that family is life. As I’ve gotten older, my definition of “family” has enlarged. Those who go to church with me are now part of my family. The missionaries who serve alongside me have become part of my family. And over the past 14 years, I’ve added a new and wonderful group of people to my family: my Baptist Messenger readers.

Several years ago, I began to have a desire to hold a family reunion with those who follow the Baptist Messenger and the column of this poor writer. So many of you have encouraged me through letters, emails and Facebook messages. I wanted to reciprocate, but wasn’t sure how. I value relationships, so I would consider it a great joy and honor to spend time with my extended family. We can exchange hugs, share some thoughts and throw in a little music. Of course, if my grandmother were still alive, I’d ask her to bake us her world-famous apple pie. (She always told me the secret was in the crust; she used home-rendered lard to make it flaky.)

With that in mind, I approached the people in the big building in Oklahoma City and asked if they might be interested in a Baptist Messenger Family Reunion.  It didn’t take long for them to realize it was a great idea.

In the months to come, I’ll be hosting Family Reunion Nights across the state. First, we’ll celebrate the anniversary of the Baptist Messenger. Isn’t it incredible that our state paper has informed, inspired and educated the people of Oklahoma for 100 years? I’ve read many of the other state Baptist papers, and I must confess there is none better. Oklahomans do it right!

Second, I want to meet you. Let’s get our family together.  Come and enjoy a time where you can ask questions, hear me bring a Bible lesson and have some light refreshments while we spend time together.

Our first Family Reunion Night will be held Friday, March 30 at Oklahoma City, Putnam City, 11401 N. Rockwell Ave.   Get your Sunday School Class together, borrow the church van and make a night of it. We’re planning a number of these reunions across the state of Oklahoma, so be watching for the one nearest you.  There’s no charge to get in, but we’ll take up a love offering to help this writer buy some more pencils.

I’m looking forward to making memories and getting to know you as we praise God for family. I can’t wait to see you! And if you need a permission slip for staying out late, I can take care of that, too.

Family Reunion Night: if we hold it, will you come?

Walker Moore is president of Awe Star Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, email, Phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827).