A church with an appetite for its continued community impact of faith is once again hosting its smorgasbord-turned-carry-out annual, fall home-cooked dinner from 4 to 7 p.m. today.
St. John’s Lutheran Church White Creek at 16270 S. County Road 300W in southern Bartholomew County is expecting as many as 300 people or more to pick up meals of baked ham or turkey, sage dressing, real mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade noodles, green beans, home-grown corn, and a choice of various desserts, from pumpkin pie to pudding.
Annette Purdue is president of the St. John Ladies Guild that coordinates the event that this year will generate proceeds to refurbish the church parsonage.
“This becomes a really neat way for our church to come together to feed people and to raise funds for all the projects that come up,” Purdue said. “It takes the whole church to make it work.”
Currently, about 180 to 200 people weekly attend services at St. John’s.
Meal cost is $15 (cash only) for adults and $6 for children ages 3 to 10. Extra eat costs $3 more and extra dessert is $3 more, according to organizers.
For years, the event, which requires about 50 volunteers from chefs to those shuttling meals in and out of the St. John school gym, was an eat-in smorgasbord and craft fair before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s hard to have enough people to easily do that (as a smorgasbord) again,” Purdue said of the previous fellowship format. “That requires an awful lot more people.”
It stands as one of the church’s two biggest fundraisers.
In recent years, those picking up meals have come from Columbus, Hope, Seymour, Brownstown and the surrounding area, Purdue said.
She is like many of the church’s current attendees — those who have spent most of their spiritual lives there, from baptism onward. The history detailed on the church website at whitecreek.org is written as plain and unfettered as one might expect leaders of a storied, rural congregation to present it, opening with “Okay, we confess that there aren’t many Lutheran churches like ours left. We aren’t here to entertain you with bands, dancers, theatrical performances, or flashy computer presentations. We are here to tell you about the love of God the Father for us in Jesus Christ His Son.”
The church was established in 1840. Several immigrant families from Hanover, Germany, settled the area, built the original brick church, and established a school for their children.