October in the Bag

October was a busy month, but we have so many things to celebrate. Many know this, but I wasn't in favor of doing the pumpkin patch this year. Why? Because I was worried it would over-tax our congregation's time. Why am I telling you this? Because I was wrong and I'm glad to be wrong.

I'm a firm believer in sharing my opinion and then stepping back. The Church Council rallied together to make the Pumpkin Patch happen for the purpose of connecting with our community and reminding the community that we're here. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

These things were accomplished by our INCREDIBLE lay people, not by me.

Pumpkin Patch

Before the pumpkins arrived, Pat's Nursery gave us a helping hand by bringing over their forklift. In the past, we've had to load the pallets by hand into pickup trucks. This year, Pat's moved them with their forklift for us, saving at least an hour's time and lots of sweat.

Cub Scout Troop 812 worked alongside our congregation to get everything pre-set. They worked so fast, I almost missed it. It was an incredible sight to see these young people, their parents, and our church members all working along side each other. They moved pallets and put up all the decorations so things were ready for the pumpkin drop.
To help minimize the load on our congregation, we limited the number of days we sold pumpkins. In the past, we've had the pumpkins available for most of October. This year, we had them dropped on the 15th, cutting our time in half.
Here's some of the incredible things that happened from the Pumpkin Patch:
  • We had a ton of conversations with our community, inviting them to church
  • We saw at least 1 family invited at the patch show up for church
  • We raised over $5,000 in profits - most ever in less time
    • 30% of that will go to the Cub Scouts
  • We had small groups serving together, increasing community (pictured above is the More 2 Life small grou)

All the pumpkins not sold went to people in our community–local farmers primarily–to be used.

Clay County Kitchen

The 15th was a busy day. While we were waiting for the pumpkins to be delivered, the women's group headed to Middleburg UMC for our monthly commitment to serve at The Kitchen of Clay County. I went with them for the first time and was blown away by this ministry. If you've never been, this is a wonderful way to serve our community.
It all starts by people bringing a crock-pot of soup and supplies to make sandwiches. We also pick up food from Waste Not Want Not to give away.
Then Bags are prepared for the sandwiches, chips, and condiments. People drive up in their cars, we take orders, then deliver what they request. It's drive-through service with a smile. The hope is that all the food will be given away, but any leftovers are delivered to an extended stay hotel in Orange Park for their residents.

Charge Conference

Also on the 15th, we jumped over to Asbury UMC to meet Rev. Durwood Foshee, our District Superintendent. We officially elected our 17 Church Council members for next year.

Fall Market & Indoor Yard Sale

Last but not least, our Fall Market and Indoor Yard Sale. I want to give a BIG THANK YOU to Michele, Dave, and Deborah for all the work you did on the Yard Sale. We couldn't have done this event without the many hands that made it possible, but you three were the ring leaders.
They worked for weeks before the sale to sell items on Facebook Market place, and opened up Grace Place for 2 weekends. We made around $9,000, which goes to the Trustees for campus improvements! We also had 15 vendors from our community, collecting over $300 for the youth scholarship fund.

A lot of items from the yard sale came from closets at the church. I want to extend a SUPER BIG thank you to everyone who helped work on cleaning out spaces and helping improve our facilities. It goes a long way to make our church more welcoming to new people.
All the items that weren't sold were donated to other non-profit organizations. World Deliverance Ministries in Jacksonville has been picking up items from us for many years. Pastor Thomas Sparks greatly appreciates this partnership and uses the items in his ministry in Jacksonville. What Pastor Sparks didn't take, we donated to the Salvation Army.


Candypalooza was a brand new event we did to close out October, but from everyone we talked to, it was a success! Everyone I've spoken to has talked about how much fun it was and how much they enjoyed the fact they had fun.

In addition to the fact that we had fun, we had 3 first-time families and 6 first-time kids in Kids Club! For the Months of September and October, we were averaging  around 50 in worship/nursery and around 5 Kids Club. For Candypalooza, we had 67 in worship/nursery and 15 in Kids Club!

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who made these events a success. I'm not calling them a success because of the money we raised, but because of the relationships we built. We talked with people, we connected with our community, and we served others. Most importantly, we worked together!

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