Creating bonds of brotherhood

Men's movements like PromiseKeepers have spread across the nation bringing men of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds together in an effort to strengthen churches, families and society as a whole with some measured successes.

Feb. 6-8, men from at least 10 different churches throughout Kitsap County will meet in Port Townsend as part of the first Kitsap County men's retreat led by Crossroads Neighborhood Church in Bremerton.

The idea for the countywide event came from Russ Shiplett, who leads the church's men's ministry, Crossroads senior pastor Gary Tangeman said.

"We felt like we needed to not only get across denominational lines, but racial lines as well," Tangeman said, adding that the Bremerton African American Ministers Alliance churches have been invited to attend the event in addition to several other churches throughout the county.

One of the important aspects of the three-day event is that it will bring men of all backgrounds together outside their day-to-day lives, so they can experience new things, he said.

"It shows that people are people, and we need to be exposed to different ways of worship," he said, noting that each denomination has slightly different methods of worship that many people don't take the time to explore.

The goal of the retreat is to capture men's hearts and thereby create the foundation for change that will benefit not only families and churches, but society as a whole, he said.

For men who have heard about the upcoming retreat but are still unsure about participating, Tangeman encourages them to "take a leap of faith."

"Sometimes we have to get in different environments and out of our comfort zone, so we can hear what God is telling us," he said.

For more information about the retreat, which is $75, those interested are asked to contact Crossroads Neighborhood Church at (360) 692-1672.

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