Dear Patch readers: This is my final Faith Matters column. December 2010 to March 2012 is a good run. I’ve met fabulous, faithful people who have graciously let me into their houses of worship and their hearts.
Thank you and bless you. — Rev. Kemery Baldwin
Members of three local United Church of Christ congregations gathered for tasty pie and talent performances Feb. 26 and raised money for missions.
The fellowship hall of Emmanuel United Church of Christ in Weldon Spring had standing room only by 6 p.m. as people crowded in to watch the performance of friends and neighbors. No big screens, no flashy lights; just music, songs and skits for good works and a great time.
Emmanuel UCC, in St. Peters and St. John’s United Church of Christ, Weldon Spring have joined together in this effort for the last five years rotating the location among the three churches.
The churches raised money for missions by selling slices of pie and a pie auction. Money will go toward Heifer International, Inc., Every Child’s Hope (formerly Evangelical Children’s Home) and the Joplin Relief Fund of the Missouri Conference of the United Church of Christ.
The youngest performer was eight-year-old singer Abby Schmidt, from Emmanuel UCC. After she was finished, a young man from the front row said clearly for all to hear, “Abby, you were awesome!”
Randy Williams, also from Emmanuel UCC and the master of ceremonies stepped on the stage to perform. He sang “Long Black Train” by Josh Turner but in a style very much like Johnny Cash.
Youth got into the act as well. Besides Schmidt, Nick Hornung of Grace UCC played two piano pieces and 14-year old Eli Massar of St. John’s UCC offered a classical guitar solo. There was a clever rap song and dance, accordion music sing-along, and other singers. The musical theater parody received a standing ovation.
Three couples from St. John’s UCC call themselves “The Silly Six.” Using “The Goodbye Song” from the Broadway show and movie “The Sound of Music,” the three women dressed as men and the three men dressed as women and lip-synced and acted out the song. It was hysterical. I admit, I laughed out loud and whooped at the end. "The Silly Six" are Roy and Carol Boschert, Dick and Joann Wade and Jerry and Polly Wagner.
There were plates and plates of pie ready for sale when most of us went to the dining hall after the talent show, urged on by Rev. Polly McWilliams, pastor of Emmanuel UCC.
“Oh, this apple pie smells really good! Who wants it for $10? Do I hear $11?” McWilliams urged the bidders on until that pie sold for $20, the highest bid of the night. The next highest was $15 for a blueberry pie. I took home a pumpkin pie for $11.
This Sunday evening was not splashy. It was sharing of our best efforts for good causes. It also spoke about churches understanding that they do not have to go about “being the church” all on their own.
Churches can come together and not have to do everything by themselves. When churches work together and build something together, no matter how simple and straightforward, a shared experience is created among the congregations and a wider community it built.
This Talent Show and Pie Social has at least a five year history among the three churches. That is a lot of music and laughter and pie and funds raised, and this was all done and shared in faith.
After all the pie was bought, eaten and auctioned, the total was $525 or $175 to each designated mission.
That’s a lot of homemade pie, made with love, and enjoyed, purposefully and faithfully.
Down to the last crumb of crust.
Full disclosure: I am a member of St. John’s UCC, Weldon Spring.