St. Andrews UMC had their 2010 Homecoming. We had a very nice crowd, quite a few first time visitors, along with folks that were there from some distance. We also had our members from Republican Grove UMC and Providence UMC joining us. (I'm not really sure why everyone avoids the front pews.)
We had some special music by Maria Eakin, Jason Hall, and Jacob Wyatt. I am very appreciative of their ministering in song for us.
I got to do an unplanned children's message. When I saw that we had quite a few children with us this Sunday, I couldn't resist. I got Dave Adams to grab some varied pumpkins off the tables in the fellowship hall. I had a normal orange one, a white one, and a green one. We talked about how they all looked different, but they were still pumpkins. The I related that to people and how God sent Jesus for everyone, no matter what they looked like or were shaped like. Anyways, I think it made sense to the kids.
The choir sang "God is Here", a lovely song that was just right for the day. We may have a small choir, but we have quality. They are not intimidated by their size and are a wonderful addition to the ministry of the church.
Our guest speaker was Rev. Jacob Sahms, pastor of Blanford UMC in Petersburg, Virginia. Jacob and I were in Licensing School together several years back. There is a long story about the "Wiffle Ball Miracle", but I'll have to save that for another post. While we were disappointed that his wife, Joanne, and son, Adam, couldn't join us; we were very happy to have him be able to be here with us.
Jacob brought a message titled "Got Wonder?", using the text from Luke 17:11-19. It is the passgae about Jesus healing the ten lepers and only one returned to thank him. It was an excellent sermon for us all to hear.
After the service, we all moved to the Fellowship Hall for lunch. Homecoming season is definitely not the time of year to be worrying about adding a few punds. You can always fast a few meals before Thanksgiving.
October is Pastor Appreciation Month and they surprised Joanne and me with a special cake for the both of us. They all know that there's no Pastor Charlie without Joanne. I never cease to be thankful for having been appointed to the Mount Airy Charge. I have 3 wonderful churches with the most loving congregations you could ask for, God knew what I needed.
Of course, there was a bounty of food, no one had to leave hungry. The fried chicken was great and a few pieces made their way home with us.
There were more desserts than one person could try. Not that I didn't make a valiant effort.
After lunch and fellowship, Joanne and I headed over to the White Fall Farm Pumpkin Patch for some relaxation. I simply like hanging out there, watching the little kids and families.
It was beautiful day to be outside at the Pumpkin Patch. Apparently a whole bunch of people thought the same thing.
The Hay Bale Castle sits at the top of the hill like a crown.
The two Pygmy goats and the chickens were great entertainment. The rooster kept crowing while people threw corn kernels to him. The goats would bang heads for fun, to the joy of all the little kids (and adults).
The crowd for the Pumpkin Hunt was huge. It was fun watching the kids run all over the field trying to find the mini-pumpkins hidden in the tall grass.
Homecoming Sunday, with friends, food and fellowship.
Another beautiful weekend at the White Fall Farm Pumpkin Patch of A.J. and Lisa Nuckols. You couldn't have asked for a better day. Obviously people realized that and they came out to enjoy the day in the Hay Bale Maze and Castle, Corn Maze, Pumpkin Hunt, Hay Ride, and more.
Tommy Castle and his son Grady were enjoying feeding the chickens.
Folks were having fun with the antigue corn kernel remover, picking from a variety of pumpkins and gourds, and taking Hay Rides.
The day was cool enough and warm enough, just what you would have asked for. The sky was clear and the leaves were changing to a full range of colors.
They have pumpkins and gourds like I have never seen. I had no idea that some of these varieties even existed.
The corn maze is a lot of fun. Joanne and I went through with Tommy and Carrie Castle and their children. Even in places where it isn't too tall, you still get turned around and have to retrack. Grady loved running ahead and running back to tell us that that wasn't the way to go.
Over the top of the sorgum you could see the Hay Bale Castle on the top of the hill..
I guess you've figured out that the corn maze is actually made from sorgum, but it doesn't change how much fun it is for the smaller kids or the adults.
Joanne and I enjoying our afternoon at the Pumpkin Patch.
The Castle family; Tommy, Carrie, Grady, and Max enjoying the Hay Bale Maze and Castle.
This is a portion the Hay Bale maze which surrounds the castle, that you have to work your way through so you can then work your way to the top of the castle.
The sun setting behind the Hay Bale castle.
When the sun starts setting, the fire gets lit. Its a nice time to sit back, enjoy the warmth of the fire as the evening cools down. Its a nice time for friends to sit a talk.
Joanne and I enjoying the last Hay Ride of the day.
Another wonder filled day at the Pumpkin Patch. I really can't get too many of these.
It's time for the White Fall Farm Pumpkin Hunt of A.J. and Lisa Nuckols in Mount Airy, Virginia. The Pumpkin Patch is 10 miles east of Gretna on route 40 and then 1/4 mile south on route 640. If you want to plug it into your GPS use this: 6001 Riceville Road, Gretna, Virginia, 24557.
The hay bale castle is a whole new design this year with a hay bale maze around the outside, that you have to find your way through before you can get up into the second and third levels of the castle. But the view from the top is worth the effort. It took me several tries to find the correct way through the maze, but I do tend to be a bit directionally challenged.
The view to the front of the castle is great, looking back at the picnic area on the left and the corn maze on the right, and the view from the back of the castle is acres of bright orange pumpkins. They also have white pumpkins and gourds of varieties that I have never seen before.
They have farm animals for the kids to see, petting not recommended. Their is the mobile chicken coup, with a rooster who never heard that crowing was supposed to be done only when the sun comes up. There is Stu the pig, Tessie the goat, and two Angus calves #53 and #14.
They have tractor pulled hay rides, that take folks all over the area. Its also used to take people out in the field to pick a pumpkin. Which is a really good idea since some of those pumpkins are huge.
Joanne, Jean Shelton, and I manned the St. Andrews United Methodist Church Hot Dog Stand. The proceeds from the sales go to the church's "Community Help Fund". Last year the church assited several families in the area with groceries, elctric bills, and other personal needs. All the people that were helped were not members of the church. We are really excited about this opportunity to reach out beyond the walls of our church and to be the hands of Christ to others.
You'll notice in the above picture that when it was slow between lunch and suppertime, Joanne got on the computer and checked her Facebook. Okay, I checked mine too.
There were organized Tug-o-Wars throughout the day. There is also a small hay bale maze for the little kids. The corn maze for the adventurous. Don't plan on coming and spending a few minutes, think about staying for the afternoon and evening.
There was also pumpkin painting for the kids. Some of the kids were minimalists and some were way over the top, with barely any space not painted. They had volunteered Joanne to judge the art works, but in the end did the wise and safe thing, rewarding all the kids for their efforts.
It was an abolutely georgous day in the country. The forecast was for chilly temperatures, but it warmed up nicely with barely a cloud in the sky.
This is A.J. Nuckols, the owner and designer of the Pumpkin Patch, carrying the American flag out to plant at the top of the castle. I have to admit, that as I watched him placing it on the upper hay bale, I had chills.
In the evening we had a Blue Grass music played. Some very talented musicians got together to entertain folks at the Pumpkin Patch. There is music scheduled every Saturday through the month of October.
As the sun goes down, the sun peaks through the tree and the fire is lit. We had hoped to roasting marshmallows, but that will have to wait for another week, when we remember to bring them
When the sun went down, the outline of the castle was on the horizon.
It was a really nice, nice weather and good firends. I tell folks that this is my Walt Disney World in Pittsylvania County. I look forward to this every year andtry to visit as often as I can while its going, because then I have to wait another year to do it again. If you get a chance come on out and experience it for yourself.