Fun & Community Outreach
Some things we do just for fun and fellowship. Some things are meant to reach out to the community around us. And some are partly both.
Parties, meals, fellowship. Like many churches we don't need a major reason to get together for a meal and to share each others' company! Numerous times during the year we have carry-in meals, or sometimes just a cake to celebrate someone's birthday or graduation. There's almost always a late winter party...usually focused either on Valentine's Day or St. Patrick's Day.
Work days are fun! Jobs you do at home, for yourself, aren't always fun are they? But get a bunch of people together to tackle a job and you have something great! From time to time we schedule a work day, usually to help members of the congregation or the community by removing downed limbs in their yard, cleaning up yard waste, or other physical chores which age or physical impairment prevents them from doing. Traditionally, our youth group has often been the catalyst for these work days, but not always. In any case, lots of adults get involved too.
American Red Cross blood drives are held regularly at New Hope. While not an "official" function of the church (the Red Cross is in charge; they just use our building), many New Hope members donate blood. Our Amish neighbors are regular, committed blood donors, so we get to see a lot of them at those times. (The Amish are here often enough for blood drives, that we even built a hitching rail beside our parking lot so they'll have convenient horse and buggy parking.)
Summer ice cream social. A home-made ice cream and cake social is a longstanding New Hope tradition. It used to be held in the back yard of one our members' homes, then later was moved to the New Hope parking lot, and most recently was moved to the City Park in the town of Clark, 5 miles to the south. Holding this event in a public park and advertising it to the entire local community is part of our effort to connect with the community around us.
Fall wiener roast & hayride. Usually held in September, we gather to roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a campfire, followed by a hayride that leaves near dusk and usually doesn't get back until dark...which is usually followed by a lot more marshmallow roasting, plus coffee and hot chocolate.
Fall Chili & Soup Bazaar. The bazaar began in the 1970s as a United Methodist Women (UMW) and church-wide fund raiser. Besides serving a meal to local community members--some of whom are from quite a bit farther away than "local" usually implies--it has grown to include sales of craft items, including crafts made by youth Sunday School classes.
Bridge Building Team (BBT). Wow, I bet you didn't expect that we'd have a team of people who build bridges! Are they engineers? Steelworkers? No, this team is about building bridges to people. The BBT works on planning events and activities designed to help us connect with members of the community; our part of bringing the message of Christ to the world around us.