THE ST. MATTHEW'S EPISCOPAL PUMPKIN PATCH BEGAN ONE EVENING IN AUGUST 2004 WHEN JEAN GREEN POSED THE QUESTION, "WHY CAN'T WE HAVE A PUMPKIN PATCH LIKE OTHER TOWNS," TO THE WEDNESDAY NIGHT WOMEN'S BOOK GROUP.
That night we planted pumpkin seeds of faith, remembering words about other seeds in Matthew 17:20:..."for truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you." Indeed, we had nothing but faith that a Pumpkin Patch at St. Matthews could become an outreach ministry to the community. We had no money, no pumpkins, no large group of volunteers; all we had was faith, a vision, and the commitment of St. Matthew's church family. The first year of the Patch, we learned more about pumpkins than any member of St. Matthews thought we would ever know. At the close of the first Pumpkin Patch whispers were in the air of "next year we'll do this and that".
When second year arrived, we felt like Pumpkin Patch pros. We expanded. More pumpkins were ordered, and we added new and unusual varieties. We learned that those ethereal white Lumina pumpkins actually seemed to glow at dusk. We also added a Bake Sale and a Mahjong and Bridge Harvest Luncheon. We continued our Sunday afternoon family activities including Pumpkin Painting, Telling Bible Stories with members dressed as their favorite person in the Bible, Story Time for Rusk County private preschools and special need children in the public schools, Seniors Sipping Cider an afternoon of fellowship for area assisted living residents, and the Celebration of the Feast of St. Francis with A Blessing of the Animals.
After the second year, it seemed not to be a question of "Will we have a Patch?", but rather "Who will do what in the Patch?" As always church members stepped forward realizing that The Patch had become our gift to the community. The Reverend Patsy G. Barham gave a listening ear, encouragement and direction, and prayers. She and her husband began cooking for church members on the Patch work day. By the third year, we began to see "regulars" who all had stories to tell...
From the question, "Why can't we have a Pumpkin Patch like other towns?" we have witnessed the planting of seeds of faith that turn a barren hill into a Pumpkin Patch. The joyfulness and vision of the Patch remains while from year to year we strive to refresh the Patch with activities for all, always aware of the bountiful blessings from God. Indeed, St. Matthew's Episcopal church has become the little church on the hill with "The Best Pumpkin Patch" ever.
-Thanks be to God!