Church dinner rings in New Year
PARKERSBURG — The Baptist Temple Parkersburg’s New Year’s Day Dinner was held Monday, and members say the annual event is an important way to both minister to those in need and to bring community members together.
The event has been going for at least 18 years, said Pastor Scott Wight. This marks the third year of his participation as church pastor.
“We like to bring the community together, not only to provide for the needy, but to unify everyone,” he said.
Dave Miller, office assistant at Baptist Temple Parkersburg and a retired pastor, has participated in the New Year’s Day Dinner since it first began.
“I’m a people person,” he said. “I love to meet the people in the neighborhood.”
Miller said it also gives church members a chance to learn the stories and needs of those around them.
“We make contacts that way. We find people we can help” through the church’s food pantry or other services, he said.
Miller said the annual event also gives everyone a chance to see new and familiar people.
“It’s a mixture,” he said. “There are regulars, yes, but we also get a lot of new faces.”
Snowy streets and bitter cold kept attendance low Monday. Temperatures hovered in the single digits for most of the day and the area saw snow throughout the weekend and bursts of flurries throughout Monday. Wight said this year the event saw about 30 visitors, whereas in years past the dinner has averaged 50-100 visitors.
“A lot of the people who come for this event are elderly or they walk here,” Wight said. “When it gets cold, it keeps them at home. It’s down significantly this year.”
Church member Mary Foutty organized this year’s dinner.
“I’ve been helping with this since it started. I’ve been in charge a few times,” she said. “I love it, just being able to feed the people.”
About 20-130 church members helped with the event, Wight said, with some donating food and others cooking and serving.
Wight said the Baptist Temple Parkersburg is dedicated to emulating the good deeds of Jesus Christ while sharing his story and their faith.
“That’s a big part of our mission. We try to put hands and feet toward our ministry,” he said. “If we’re not doing the work, we’re missing the point.”