Saturday, September 07, 2013
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Former minister Gene Shepherd to be speaker for Harvest of Talents Celebration Sunday

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[September 07, 2013]  Gene Shepherd, former senior minister of Lincoln Christian Church and now residing in Anaheim, Calif., has been chosen to deliver the message for the Harvest of Talents Celebration Sunday service Oct. 27 in the chapel at Lincoln Christian University. In February 1984, Shepherd delivered the sermon that launched the first Harvest of Talents for World Hunger.

The Harvest of Talents, celebrating its 30th year with its Oct. 26 event in the Lincoln Christian Church Fellowship Center, is the unique "every person" hunger ministry of the church.

Shepherd, who graduated from Lincoln Christian College and Lincoln Christian Seminary, has served in ministries in Missouri, Illinois, Texas (Dallas Christian College) and California. He recently retired from ministry at the Anaheim Christian Church, where he served for 13 years.

When living in Illinois, Shepherd became interested in weaving as a diversion from the responsibilities and stress that accompany most aspects of ministry. By the time he reached California, he was searching for something offering more of a "high touch" sort of experience. Remembering that he watched an elderly woman hook rugs during his childhood, he decided on a whim to make a rug as a diversion.

"I guess I could say I was hooked," notes Shepherd. "Although I am self-taught, for the most part, I like to say that I 'hook by ear.'

"Part of the reason I have been so successful is because I have spent so many hours honing my communication skills -- skills which pay off as I teach, write and film instructional videos on this art form."

Shepherd is currently director of Cambria Pines Rug Camp, regularly offered the first full week of June at Cambria Pines Lodge, Cambria, Calif., as well as director of the online Internet Rug Camp. He regularly teaches private and group classes in Anaheim, Calif., and has also taught at various biennial conventions of the Association of Traditional Hooking Artists. He is also serving as co-director of the 2013 ATHA Biennial in Long Beach, Calif.

Known for his particular passion of introducing rug hooking to multiethnic children and adults, he has traveled as far as Russia, England, Canada and Australia to teach this art form. His hooked rugs have been featured several times in Rug Hooking Magazine and the ATHA Newsletter. Four of his works have been chosen to appear in "A Celebration of Hand-Hooked Rugs": "Fog" in 2002, "Russian Birch" in 2004, "Miss Weigle" in 2005 and "Big Momma" in 2009. "Russian Birch" was also chosen as a "Reader's Choice" finalist. In 2003 he served as one of four judges for "Celebrations XIII."

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Although most of Shepherd's work is based on his original designs, he has re-created two rugs for the U.S. Park Service. Working with black-and-white archival photos, he designed and hooked two rugs that had been lost from FDR's Top Cottage at Hyde Park, N.Y. These rugs went on display at Hyde Park in 2004.

Shepherd is a frequent contributor to Rug Hooking Magazine. His published works include "The Rug Hooker's Bible"; "Prodded Hooking for a Three-Dimensional Effect"; his latest book, "Prepared to Dye"; and over 80 professionally produced instructional DVDs on various topics associated with the making of traditional hand-hooked rugs.

On a personal note, Shepherd comments that rug hooking has opened up many doors of witness that he might not have had otherwise. He receives calls and letters asking for prayers and counsel from all around the world because he is well-known as "the rug-hooking pastor."

Shepherd resides in Anaheim, Calif., with his wife, Marsha, and daughter, Ann.

For a gallery of Shepherd's work, teaching schedule, original patterns, links to companion sites and information about Cambria Pines Rug Camp, visit

The public is invited to attend the Oct. 27 service of celebration at 10 a.m. in the Earl C Hargrove Chapel of LCU. The service will feature a parade of flags from all of the countries that have been recipients of Harvest of Talents funds over the past 29 years. A check representing the proceeds of the 30th Harvest will be presented to Rick Jett, executive director of International Disaster Emergency Service. The multimedia worship service will conclude the weekend activities of the Harvest of Talents for World Hunger.

In the past 29 years the Harvest of Talents for World Hunger has raised over $1,718,145.23, every penny of which has been channeled to missions worldwide to alleviate spiritual and physical hunger.

[Text from file received]

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