Our prayers were answered as Sunday, June 23rd dawned bright and clear, if not a little windy; it was the day of our combined 10:30 am worship to be followed by our Picnic & Pies event on the Cathedral grounds.
The setup crew were at work by 9:30 am and within an hour had all the tables ready for the hot dogs, drinks, watermelon, pies, and cake; the barbecue was all organized and ready to go. Chairs were brought out and placed around the area. Various games were put out for the children: badminton, ring toss, horseshoes, bats and balls. Signs were put up, a last minute check done, and then, the first hymn could be heard; the crew rushed inside to join the service.
The service over, everyone streamed out of the Cathedral into the bright sun. Some headed right for the food, while others gathered in little groups to chat and get caught up. The hot dog table developed a steady line of parishioners anointing their dogs with their chosen condiments. The popcorn machine was an immediate hit; bags of popcorn were seen clutched in the hands of children and adults alike. Parched throats had a choice of iced tea or lemonade, not to mention those juicy slices of watermelon that were so refreshing. And then there was the pie table, covered from end to end with amazing, delicious pies: strawberry-rhubarb, blueberry, Saskatchewan, lemon meringue, apple, cherry, butterscotch ― often with more than one of each flavour. Decisions were not easy and took some time, with many opting for half a slice of this and half a slice of that. Or just coming back for seconds and thirds. No calories at a church picnic!
With their plates loaded with food, people settled into groups around the grounds. Young families spread out on the grass while little ones explored nearby. The shade seekers congregated on chairs under the big oak next to the pie table―a smart move perhaps on two counts. Some opted for being out in the sun, no doubt letting its heat evaporate any memories of our winter past. Conversations ebbed and flowed, people wandered from group to group meeting friends old and new.
While the big people ate and chatted, the children checked out some of the games and toys. A badminton net had been set up, but the wind proved too much for that game. But it was not too windy for balls to be tossed and caught or tossed and hit. There was not much interest in the horseshoes, maybe just as well. However, the ring toss game did garner some interest, initially for its original purpose, but in the end it was the sand in the box that proved to be more fun; the rings were later found buried in the cup under quite a layer of sand.
Safety is always important at any gathering, so colourful little pinwheels were stuck in the ground in front of pegs and ropes to warn people of a tripping hazard. This worked well until one of the youngest members of our congregation found them; a pinwheel clutched in each little fist, he happily stumped around the area, the wheels spinning wildly. And no, no one did trip over any of the pegs.
There was a last minute run on the pie table, but then, it was over. Pleasantly satisfied with food, conversation, and companionship, people drifted away home. And then, the cleanup crew sprang into action. Many hands make light work, and in no time tables were cleared, wiped, and loaded for transport. Toys, games, dishes, odds and ends were gathered up and tossed into cars and vans. The grounds were cleared and everything back to the church hall in no time.
Of course an event like this doesn’t just happen. It takes a great team effort of volunteers to make our congregational events successful and special; from our task teams on set up, service, and clean up, to all our food donation volunteers that are so very important. For Sunday’s Picnic & Pies we had over 22 volunteers from within our task teams and more than 21 food volunteers, who donated hot dog buns, chips, watermelons, and those 15 delicious pies! In addition, the Anglican Church Women (ACW) donated a lovely light cake in honour of Hank Williams and Norma Jean Belyea, which was enjoyed by all. The few pieces of pie that were left over, along with some iced tea and lemonade, were offered at the afternoon reception at the Cathedral Hall. A sincere thank you to all our volunteers―we greatly appreciate all your efforts!