126 years ago a local Baptist church had a Sunday School picnic in the Odon park. It has become Odon Old Settlers, one of the longest-running fairs in the state.
Last year to celebrate 125 years, the Old Settlers committee decided to invite all the churches to join together for a Sunday morning service in the park. This year for the 2nd annual combined service, our church was asked to coordinate the event. It lasted right at an hour with two short sermons, a couple of musical specials, and several congregational songs led by an expanded group from our church. Then there was dinner on the grounds followed by a Christian illusionist who did an excellent show. It was another exceptionally warm July day but the trees in the "grove" provided some nice shade.
The event is a mixed success. It's a great time to come together as a community, but people tend to view it as a "day off" from church -- a good opportunity to do something else. The "big" church had their regular service rather than cancelling, even though one of the sermons was by an associate from there. Several came but certainly not their entire congregation. So the total crowd doesn't come close to the same number that gather in the respective churches around town on an ordinary Sunday.
The other thing is that it's sort of like a family reunion. People tend to stick to their own clan rather than mingling like the organizers envision. I could look around and see the Methodist section, the Baptist section, the Nazarene section, and the Christian Church section. I tried to make my rounds through all of them, but I didn't notice many others mingling. Still, it was great for those of us who enjoy that sort of thing.
The other good news is that my daughter and her fiance managed to corner the proper authorities from the Methodist church to finally get official approval to have an outdoor wedding in the open field behind the church in October. That's a good thing since the invitation are already printed.
I am amazed every year when the carnival moves into the park and transforms it into the Old Settlers fairgrounds. I'm quite familiar with the park and am also at home at Old Settlers, but I find little resemblance between the two locations. It has been interesting these two years to be at the park on Sunday and watch the carnival start to move in and begin the transformation in preparation for the fair starting on Tuesday evening. I'll try to get a snapshot of what the scene below becomes.
Two pictures -- one of our worship team for the day practicing -- I am on the right at the Clavinova. The other of the crowd starting to gather. (It's a BYOC* service.)
*bring your own chair