Winter Retreat #1- 22-26 Dec
Chaplain Erik Gramling
Chaplain (Lieutenant Colonel) Erik J. Gramling was born in Erie, Pennsylvania on 8 August 1969 into the home of a Navy Reservist. Following graduation from Westmont Hilltop High School in Johnstown, PA (1987), he considered enlisting in the Navy. Pushed towards higher education by his father, he tried for acceptance to the Naval Academy and then for a NROTC scholarship to Penn State. When neither was offered to him, he decided upon a major and graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Justice. Having come into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ shortly before his senior year of high school, he was heavily involved with a Christian Fellowship during his college days and shortly after graduation felt the Lord leading him to attend seminary.
During his time in seminary, he discerned a clear call from the Lord to pastoral ministry. Four years later he graduated from Biblical Theological Seminary, Hatfield, Pennsylvania where he earned a Master of Divinity degree in May 1996. He had begun to pastor a church plant shortly before this in December 1995 and succeeded in obtaining his ordination in 1999 with the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church (C&MA). Five years later, after a clear call and even clearer providential leading from the Lord, he felt permission to leave his church and the C&MA endorsed him for Active Duty to serve as an Army Chaplain. Needless to say, his Navy-hearted father was surprised but proud! He began his career as an Army Chaplain on 6 January 2004. He is strongly committed to glorifying God and his Savior Jesus Christ through this current expression of his call to ministry via the U.S. Army Chaplaincy. He is married (1991) to the former Michelle Kagarise. They have three children, Gary 21 (Penn State Student), Aleah 19 (Penn State Student) and Marcus 16.
“Great Characters of the Christmas Story”
What makes a great story? Is it not the great characters acting out a compelling story line whose plot captures our heart? Do we not identify with the Hero and Heroine? But can you have a story without a conflict? Thus, does not a powerful story demand there be a powerful villain? And for others to see and hear this story, does it not take a masterful author, director and producer to put it all together? Join your WSS family this 22-26 December as we look anew at The Greatest Story Ever Told; a REAL story, about REAL people, in REAL trouble, in need of a REAL Savior, sent as a gift from a REAL God! We’ll provide the popcorn!
Winter Retreat #2- 26-30 Dec
Dr. Dan Hart
Dan grew up as a US Navy brat and first visited White Sulphur Springs in 1983 when his father was stationed at the Pentagon. Years later he joined OCF while a cadet at West Point and after graduating in 1997, brought his wife Joanna to the Springs a few months into their marriage. After serving in the Infantry for 15 years, he went to medical school at the Uniformed Services University and is finishing up his final year of psychiatry residency at Walter Reed. He and Joanna have ten children many of whom view WSS as a home away from home. The Harts currently live in the outskirts of Frederick, MD.
The Knowable God
The coming of Jesus was God’s forever proclamation that He can be and desires to be known. As we draw closer to God during the Christmas to New Year interlude, we will be challenged and encouraged in our pursuit of a more complete knowledge of who God is: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Avoiding blanket prescriptions for godly living, we will have a chance to prayerfully consider how to deepen our understanding of and love for the knowable God.
Winter Retreat #3- 30 Dec – 2 Jan
Dr Michael Sprague
Dr. Michael Sprague is the Louisiana State Chaplain with the Capitol Commission and President of Grace Adventures (www.capitolcommissionlouisiana.org). He serves as a “non-political” friend to people in the halls of leadership. He loves to help people get to know the Jesus of the Scriptures. Michael has been featured on such programs as Fox and Friends, Fox Business Risk and Reward, Moody Radio and Christianity Today. Michael holds a Business degree from the University of Maryland, a Master of Divinity degree from Capital Bible Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Dallas Theological Seminary. He served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Church in Covington, Louisiana for 11 years, and formerly served for 15 years at Forcey Bible Church in Silver Spring, Maryland.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he helped launch the Touch Global Crisis Response Ministry for the E.F.C.A. that is now multiplying compassion ministry around the world. Michael does life with his wonderful wife Donna and resides in Mandeville, Louisiana. They have one son, Jonathan who is married to Patricia, and two beloved grandchildren.
“Is there hope for America, your family and you?”
Our hope is not in technology, money, politicians or even in religion. Hope has a name and it’s Jesus Christ. Let’s journey with the person and teaching of Jesus to start the New Year with zest, purpose, courage, refreshment and hope. Indeed, “the glory of God is a man(woman) fully alive.”