A true sense of community could be felt in the Big Valley Community Hall on Sunday, Oct. 16, as people came together for Big Valley United Church’s largest fundraiser of the year, the annual fall supper with roast turkey and all the trimmings.
The funds raised from the supper keep the church doors open, according to its minister, Reverend Barbara Lieurance.
More than 300 plates of turkey and sides were dished up through the evening, ensuring everyone had enough to go into a full turkey coma, Lieurance confirmed.
“I love to hear the noise of people talking, people visiting, the clink of cutlery and the laughter,” Lieurance said. “It’s just so wonderful.”
She said the community support for the church’s dinner has left her “full of awe,” as many of the volunteers who prepared and served the meal, and many of those who came to enjoy it, were not members of the church’s congregation.
“It’s really a true community event,” she said. “People come from all over, and there’s a generosity that’s touching – especially in the tough times right now.”
She said the support from people not in the congregation reveals just how important faith and churches are to the communities in which they are built.
“So many of these people came out not just to enjoy a meal, but to help us,” Lieurance said. “People were saying, ‘Keep the change,’ just so we could make a little bit more money.”
Lieurance was full of praise for the many hands working in the kitchen, who kept food flowing to the buffet to ensure there were none with empty plates.
“The kitchen crew worked so well together,” she said. “They know what they’re doing!”
Though final numbers are not available at this time to know how much was raised by the evening, Lieurance said she feels confident the church will take away at least $2,000 from the evening – money that will be used for church maintenance and upkeep.
“When there’s a small congregation, you can’t only rely on them to keep the church afloat,” Lieurance said. “It would be a huge burden.”
In her two years as minister of the church, she has come to truly love the unique and special blend of personalities that make up the community, Lieurance said.
“There’s a pride I see in Big Valley,” Lieurance explained. “They’re keeping their school going, they’re keeping their churches going, they’re keeping community events growing. Everything is growing, and that takes a certain amount of effort and will.”