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It’s not your typical pastoral meeting message. But then again, this isn’t a typical event for pastors. In fact, CSR Ministries and Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa are doing everything they can to make “An Evening of Appreciation” for area Pastors/Ministers and their spouses a truly extraordinary event.

Dennis Swanberg, noted national speaker and Christian humorist, will be the featured guest at the gala, offering side-splitting comedy with a soul-building message to those in attendance.

“We want them to leave laughing,” said Jim Bevis, President of CSR Ministries. “There is a genuine need for Pastors and Ministers to be uplifted and encouraged. We think a Christian comedian is perfect for that job. As part of our Ministry of Encouragement, we believe an event like this one is just what’s needed for Shoals Area Pastors.”

On his website under the heading of “Why I do what I do,” Swanberg said, “I try to bring people laughter, but my point is always that joy is a choice. Happiness is dependent on what happens, but joy is a choice.”

The festivities on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 at the Marriott will include a reception, multi-course dinner. A few churches and area businesses are assisting with some of the costs of the event which will also include special gifts and prizes for the Pastors. Bevis said they hope that more sponsorships will be generated as the date of the event nears.

“My company is participating because we want the Pastors to know we’re behind them and appreciate what they do for our community,” said Charles Rickard of Heavenly Ham in Florence. “Many of our employees and their families are strengthened and encouraged by what they get from the local church, so we want to encourage and strengthen those leaders who make much of that possible.”

Bevis said that every Shoals Area Senior Pastor and their spouse or guest is being invited to attend the event at the Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa.

“Invitations are being sent to every Pastor we can find,” said Bevis. “But many mailings are being returned to us for lack of adequate addressing, and there may be some churches we don’t even know about. That’s why we’re asking those who happen not to get an invitation to contact us with their mailing information.”

Bevis said that the invitations will serve as tickets to the event, but that Pastors must confirm their planned attendance by calling the phone number shown on the invitation to reserve their seating.

To request an invitation or find out more about private or corporate sponsorships, contact CSR Ministries by emailing to, or call (256) 718-3775. Visit CSR on the web Learn more about Dennis Swanberg online at


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