Pelham Church of God opens pumpkin patch

Published 5:21 pm Monday, October 16, 2023

By BARTON PERKINS | Staff Writer

PELHAM – For the last few years, the Pelham’s Church of God’s Youth Minister Connor Rush has been taking members of his student ministry to the Smoky Mountain Winterfest in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. 

“It’s a great weekend,” Rush said. “There are worship services, and they bring in different speakers and worship artists to that event. It’s just really great because it’s an environment for kids to not really have any distractions and they can just experience the service because they’re surrounded by 11,000 peers that are the same age and are all there for the same thing.”

However, this trip is not inexpensive, and not everyone has the ability to pay for their kids to spend four days in Pigeon Forge.

“We try to include things like sweatshirts, some entertainment stuff and then ticket costs,” Rush said. “All in all, it’s about $8500 to $9,000 for the weekend, which, believe it or not, it’s on the low end of what most churches pay to go to Winterfest. I’ve got some friends in student ministry that pay as much as $15 to 20,000 for a weekend.”

$9,000 roughly averages out to each child on the trip needing to pay around $400. With this in mind, Rush has put together several fundraising events to help everyone pay to go to Winterfest. The first of these events is the Pelham Church of God’s pumpkin patch.

“Me and another one of my leaders, Lauren Lindsay, got together, and we thought that a pumpkin patch would be a fun way to just raise money but also reach out to our community,” Rush said.

The pumpkin patch officially opened on Friday, Oct. 13 and has already raised $2,000. Along with selling pumpkins, the patch will offer a number of activities, including pumpkin painting and a screening of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 4 p.m. The patch is being run by adult church members and Rush’s youth congregation members.

“We’ve been scheduling people in shifts, and like a bunch of the youth just showed up Saturday and ended up staying the whole day, because they were having so much fun,” Rush said.

Along with the pumpkin patch, Rush is planning several other fundraising events, such as bake sales, in hopes of raising as much money as possible to pay for the trip to Winterfest.

“I mean for the youth to be able to go and have this weekend and allow them to experience something new,” Rush said. “You know a lot of them have never been to Tennessee before. So it’s about giving them a new experience, but also we are using this as a chance to reach out to our community and just get to meet people.”

Pelham’s Church of God’s pumpkin patch is open every day of the week, except most Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and is located right outside the church.