To the casual observer, the picnic scene on the neatly manicured grounds of the David C Cook building in Colorado Springs, Colo., was not unlike other summer weekend gatherings taking place across the country.

The 140 or so people from multiple generations and services who were clustered around tables underneath tents on 5 August were looking forward to the opportunities there for warm fellowship while dining on savory smoked barbecue with all the sides, fixings, and desserts.

However, this year’s annual Colorado Springs OCF community-area picnic was more than just a gathering for food and fellowship; it was also a celebration of OCF’s move from its 40-year residence outside Denver to its new location in Colorado Springs.

What does the relocation of OCF’s ministry support center in May mean for OCF and its ministry looking ahead? It was a question that ministry leaders addressed during the open house remarks by casting a vision of the anticipated prospects for God’s kingdom work through OCF.
Scott Fisher, OCF CEO/Executive Director, said the move from the Englewood location, where the OCF home office had been for over half of OCF’s 80-year history, was not a decision taken lightly.

“After much prayer and counsel, we genuinely believe the God who appoints the times and boundaries of nations has guided OCF to Colorado Springs in this season for His purposes, some of which we acknowledge we still don’t fully comprehend,” said Scott, also quoting Isaiah 43:19: “‘Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?’ By His grace and power, this can be a pivotal milestone in the life of OCF, enabling our home office to become a vital hub of ministry operations.”

OCF Council president Dale Holland added: “What an amazing thing to have a place here to build relationships and help officers integrate their faith and profession,” noting that the office move places OCF in the heart of one of the nation’s most concentrated and diverse military communities.

A point that Scott reiterated in more detail: “With approximately 90,000 veterans, 40,000 active duty members, one of the greatest concentrations of OCF members in the nation, and over 200 Christian ministries, we can’t wait to see how God will work in the military community through this move for His glory!”

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Over 140 OCF members, families, and ministry friends gathered 5 August to celebrate OCF’s move from its 40-year residence in Denver to Colorado Springs.

Photo by Josh Jackson

Over 140 OCF members, families, and ministry friends gathered 5 August to celebrate OCF’s move from its 40-year residence in Denver to Colorado Springs.

Those sentiments deeply resonated with Tom Falconer, OCF’s Colorado Springs Area Coordinator and ardent OCF ROTC ministry local leader who organized the picnic, an event that is one of a trio that the community enjoys for fellowship at-large. (The other two are Aspentime (September), led by Steve and Miriam Shambach, and the Chaplains Family Retreat (May), led by Arnie and Lois Ahnfeldt, which both take place at OCF’s Spring Canyon Conference Center.)

“That OCF has relocated as ministry hub and not only as a ministry support center is where I get excited,” said Tom. “This is a great opportunity to get together as members, local leaders, and ministry leaders to pray about, cast seeds, stir interest, and talk to more of the people on how to minister to the military society.”

One need not look further than OCF at the U. S. Air Force Academy for inspiration for the harvest that could come out of partnership possibilities as OCF desires a broader reach into the entire military community.

“The move of the Home Office to Colorado Springs allows my lay-staff volunteers and cadets to connect with and see more directly OCF’s overall mission,” said Paul Homan, OCF at USAFA field staff representative. “We’ve already been able to hold men’s Bible studies in the OCF space in DCC, which provides a central location in town for members of my team to meet as several work at Peterson SFB.”

Tom called the event “a God thing” in how it all came together. Obtaining tables and chairs for the picnic and the logistics of loading, transporting, and unloading them was termed by. New Life Church lent the tables and chairs to OCF for use, and for use the next day by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society—all transported by the latter’s truck. The Colorado-Wyoming chapter’s volunteer was invited to the picnic, where “he got to see and experience Christian community in action,” said Tom. “He commented several times on how nice it was, and how respectful everybody was, particularly the youth and kids.”

Tom praised the support and help of many, including Mike and Laura Brock—who brought an OCF-shared smoker from Leavenworth—Bruce Verde, David Warner, Riley Dabbs, four volunteers from New Life Church’s military ministry, and members of the ROTC Bible study that Tom hosts.

“After the picnic, it was those graduates who broke down and loaded tables and chairs onto the truck and dealt with cleanup as grape-sized hail [pelted the area],” he said.

Pointing out that the ministry is “not about holding up the OCF banner but rather the banner of Jesus Christ,” Scott encouraged all picnic goers that the coming together as OCF members is “ultimately about life change.” The charge he gave to all, especially the youth, was of “going out to be the light of Christ.”

“The world out there needs you. God wants to use you. He has gifted you to contribute to the building up of His kingdom.”

On 31 August, Karen Fliedner retired from OCF after nearly 17 years of impeccable service to our Lord and the military community. During her time at OCF, Karen served as Managing Editor for Command magazine, assisted the Resource Development and Member Services teams, served as Communications Specialist for the Communications team, and worked in several other roles. Of particular note is her dedication to OCF’s Prayer Ministry, where she has faithfully served by sending out the monthly Power in Prayer, leading a Monday night virtual prayer meeting, and engaging with numerous OCF members in prayer over the telephone, via email, or in person. Her dedication to OCF’s Mission and Vision and tireless service to its members will forever be appreciated. If you would like to send a note of thanks to Karen, reach out to her at [email protected].