Indianapolis Great Banquet
Celebrating 20 years and over 4,000 guests
The Indianapolis Great Banquet began at Second in the fall of 1996. In October, 2016 we will hold our 100th weekend and celebrate 20 years and over 4000 guests. The Great Banquet is a Presbyterian form of a 72-hour retreat that was created by the Roman Catholic renewal movement in the 1940s.
The weekends begin on Thursday evening and conclude Sunday evening. If you are seeking to grow and deepen your experience with God, this can be a wonderful event for you. The cost of the weekend is only $10 and covers all meals. If you are interested in attending The Great Banquet, please contact Dr. Jim Riley or Rev. Joyce Hunn or call the church at (317) 253-6461.
Visit the Indianapolis Great Banquet website at indygb.org.
What is the Great Banquet?
What is the Great Banquet?
To become familiar with the Great Banquet, let's look first at the history of its counterparts, the Cursillo and the Walk to Emmaus. The Cursillo (3-day course in Christianity) began in Spain in the 1940's in the Catholic Church. It spread to the United States and evolved for Protestants into the Walk to Emmaus under the auspices of the Upper Room and the United Methodist Church. An Emmaus Movement was started by the First Presbyterian Church in Madisonville, Kentucky in 1982. After a 10-year history of the Walk to Emmaus in Madisonville, the Great Banquet was formed. Governed by an ecumenical board of directors and using the "Cursillo model", but with a different image, the Great Banquet continues to emphasize personal Christian discipleship.
What is the purpose of the Great Banquet?
The focus of the Great Banquet is to know Jesus as Lord and Savior and to make Him known. The objective of the Great Banquet is to continue the 3-day weekend by serving Christ in local churches, homes and work places. To live a life of grace and to respond to higher levels of Christian discipleship becomes the purpose of the Great Banquet.
What is the image of the Great Banquet?
The Gospel of Luke presents the parable of the Great Banquet. Jesus tells of a master who prepared a great banquet and invited many guests, saying "Come, for everything is now ready." After so many excuses for not attending by his invited guests, the master became angry and ordered his servants: "Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame." After this had been done and room still remained, the master told his servants: "Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full." Then, as additional invitations were given, the banquet was presented to his guests. The result of the master's invitation was to feast and fellowship at a banquet given by God. (Luke 14:15-24) The parable above provides the picture for the Great Banquet. Like its counterparts, Cursillo, Walk to Emmaus and Tres Dias, this movement examines Christianity as a lifestyle.
The Great Banquet is an orderly, structured weekend designed to strengthen and renew the faith of Christians. Through a combined effort of laity and clergy, the Great Banquet focuses on the renewal of the church.
What happens at the Great Banquet?
The Great Banquet is a 72-hour experience, beginning on Thursday evening and ending Sunday evening. For three days, guests live and study together in a worshipful time of singing, prayer and discussion. During each of the fifteen talks given by laity and clergy, the theme of God's grace is presented. Guests participate in the daily celebration of Holy Communion and examine more fully the presence of Christ in His body of believers. They personally experience His grace through the prayers and acts of a loving, Christian support community.
What happens after the Great Banquet?
One of the most important parts of the Great Banquet is the follow-up. Although the weekend lasts only three days, guests are invited to use its lessons for the rest of their lives. After attending the Great Banquet, they are challenged to:
Strengthen their own spiritual life through study and active congregational participation.
Strive to become active disciples of Jesus Christ in the world through their church. To assist in this discipleship, the Great Banquet offers specific opportunities.
First, reunion groups meet weekly to examine their goals of spiritual growth and to encourage one another to a life of discipleship. Second, there will be opportunities to assist in future Great Banquet weekends through prayer, support and team involvement. Third, guests are made aware of community needs through a quarterly newsletter of Great Banquet activities, both local and regional.
Who should attend the Great Banquet?
This weekend experience is for anyone who:
- Wishes to strengthen their own spiritual life;
- Wants to have a better understanding of prayer, the sacraments, study and Christian action;
- Strives to live a Christian life that bears fruit for God;
- Seeks to know Jesus as Lord and Savior and to make Him known.
You are invited!
You're invited to be a guest at the Great Banquet given by God and to feast in His goodness and love. Contact Rev. Jim Riley to learn more.
Great Banquet FAQs
Great Banquet FAQs
What is the format for a Great Banquet weekend Retreat?
The weekend consists of a series of talks given by clergy and fellow Christians. The talks focus on faith issues and personal testimony. Guests meet in small groups to discuss the talks and summarize key points. Communion is served daily. The team running the weekend and guests live as a self-contained Christian community, away from commitments, distractions and responsibilities we all face in the outside world.
What makes the weekend special?
Ask someone who has attended a banquet! It is hard to put into words as to how inspiring the experience can be! When Christians have the opportunity to spend 3 days concentrating on their faith and personal relationship with God, many truly wonderful things can happen. From seekers who are new to their faith, to Pastors, everyone seems to be moved by the experience. The best advice we can give is to ask someone who has attended the banquet. The description provided above (in response to the format question) might not seem dynamic, but the weekend certainly is dynamic.
Where will I sleep and take showers?
Accommodations are provided at Second Presbyterian Church. We turn several rooms into sleeping areas, using twin-Size Aero mattresses for bedding (they are comfortable… - really!). The church has showers that we use during the weekend.
What should I bring to the weekend?
Your sponsor will have more information on what to bring. In general, though, pack casual comfortable clothing, layers are often the best choice. You will also need to bring your Pillow, full size or larger bed sheets & blankets and or sleeping bag, towel, toiletries (ie: toothbrush, shaving items, deodorant, shampoo, etc.), Flip-Flops or shower shoes, a Coverup or Bathrobe, and any medication you need to take during the weekend in a prescription container with your name on it. Bringing a Bible is not necessary, but many guests do so to mark passages discussed in the talks.
I don’t have much background reading the Bible or engaging in church activities. Is this for me?
Definitely! Please don’t feel shy or intimidated at all. The weekend is not a formal educational experience, but instead an opportunity to focus on your faith and personal relationship with God.
What if my family needs me during the weekend? Will someone check in on them while I’m away?
A sponsor is assigned to every guest (typically, it is the person who has introduced you to the banquet) who helps transport you to and from the weekend activities and makes sure any needs that your family faces while you are away are met. We hope this will free you from any worries you have concerning your family so you can focus exclusively on your faith and personal relationship with God.
Can I sleep at home?
No. Everyone, the team running the events and guests spend the entire weekend together as a Christian community, isolated from the outside world. This includes sleeping at the church. However, if you require special sleeping arrangements, please let us know. We will likely be able to accommodate your needs.
I am on a special diet, or need to take medication. Can I still attend the weekend?
Most likely - we haven’t turned anyone away yet! The Guest Registration Form has sections for you to indicate any food allergies, special diet or medication needs. Please provide this information and we’ll contact you to make sure we understand your needs and can accommodate them during the weekend.
Is the Indianapolis Great Banquet Community under the guidance of any particular church or denomination?
No, The Great Banquet is a non-denominational movement which is governed by an ecumenical board. All Great Banquet Communities are hosted by churches that provide facilities for the community. So while Indianapolis Great Banquet Community events are held at Second Presbyterian Church, we are not a Presbyterian-only group.
I’m not a Presbyterian, nor do I attend Second Presbyterian Church. Is this for me?
If you are a Christian, no matter what flavor, then The Great Banquet is for you! The Great Banquet is a non-denominational movement. In fact, a particular focus of the movement is to draw Christians from a variety of backgrounds and faith experiences together so we can learn and grow from each other.
Indianapolis Great Banquet
- Men’s IGB #102 March 16-19
- Women’s IGB #103 April 20-23
- Women’s IGB #104 May 4-7
- Men’s IGB #105 October 19-22
- Women’s IGB #106 November 9-12
The focus of the Great Banquet is to know Jesus as Lord and Savior and to make Him known. The objective of the Great Banquet is to continue the three-day weekend by serving Christ to local churches, homes, and work places. To live a life of grace and to respond to higher levels of Christian discipleship becomes the purpose of the Great Banquet. If you or someone you know is interested, more information is available in McFarland Hall this morning.