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Posted: October 27, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Fall festivities at Salem UMC

Food, fellowship and pumpkins among outreach efforts to community

By Mandi Singer /

Pumpkins for sale: Salem United Methodist Church Pastor Randy Kanipe kneels in the pumpkin patch located in front of his church. Salem UMC will host a Barbecue and Car Show at the church on Saturday, Oct. 18.

Salem United Methodist Church consistently looks for ways to put their mission statement into action - to experience God's love, share God's love and grow in God's love. For the past fifty years, the Salem Barbecue has been a successful fundraiser and community event, normally held during the summer in conjunction with the Snapping Shoals EMC annual meeting. When the EMC moved their event to the Georgia International Horse Park, Salem UMC chose to move the Barbecue to the fall and add events.
On Saturday, Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the church and a host of volunteers will hold their annual barbecue along with a car show and motorcycle show and registration to the Kids Network. Proceeds from the barbecue will fund a mission trip for the Salem UMC youth in the spring.
The fee to enter a car or motorcycle in the show is $25. Bill "Hotrod" Tidwell is overseeing the event and will offer a people's choice award and prizes in the top ten categories.
Parents can register their children in the Kids Safe Network free of charge and will be given a card and a password they can retain in the event they had to give police information on a missing child. Immediate access into this data base creates a state wide alert that saves hours of time in finding missing children.
"Our goal is to keep the tradition in the community and offer wonderful barbecue and stew," said Marika Kanipe, mission's chair at Salem UMC. "For $7, you can purchase a plate of barbecue, stew, slaw, chips and bread with tea, or a quart of stew or a pound of meat. Gary Fincher, well-known in the community for his stew, is donating his time to cook the stew Friday night and Saturday morning."
The UMW will host a cake sale and children can purchase pumpkins ranging from 25 cents to $10. The anticipation of the Pumpkin Patch, now coordinated by Marika Kanipe, has become a staple in the life of the church as everyone pulls together to unload several thousand pumpkins each year.
"I placed challenges randomly in the pew Bibles that would take at least one year of a person's life to put together," said the Rev. Randy Kanipe, pastor of Salem UMC. "One of the members, Al Coleman, received the challenge to start a pumpkin patch and it has been going on for the past four years. I also put simple challenges that could be accomplished in one afternoon in the front or the back of the hymnals, such as bake a dozen cookies and take them to the fire department. A lot of ministries got started from that, such as a prayer ministry."
Jimmy Breedlove, chair of the staff parish relations committee, and his wife Rosemary have been busy behind the scenes preparing for the barbecue
"We started the planning process in April," said Breedlove. "We want to reach out to anyone who is un-churched using these programs and have them become a part of the church. "
Karate Kids for Christ is another ministry of the church and focuses on child safety. The children learn peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self control. Pastor Kanipe describes the training as character development and spiritual formation. A Christian based program with nightly devotionals, Karate Kids for Christ is an introductory program, free of charge, and meets twice a week on Monday and Wednesday nights. At the end of three months, participants are referred to Jim Fuller's UMAS Karate.
First degree black belts Billy Pierce, Brad Boettner and Michael Box are instructors for Karate Kids for Christ said that parents are noticing an improvement in their children's self esteem, confidence, getting homework and doing things without having to be told.
"We're not trying to teach them how to fight," said Boettner. "We are teaching them how to control themselves, how to protect themselves and how to look out for others."
From 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday night, the church hosts the Financial Peace University with Dave Ramsey. Managing your money, erasing your debt and re-prioritizing your life are the focus.
Beginning October 26, the church will offer an evening service at 7:00 p.m. on prayer for our country, economy and draught. Participants will have an opportunity to share concerns and fears and pray for one another.
"We're going to pray our way through the election," said pastor Kanipe. "We're not going to pray for or against any candidate. We are praying for unity in the country -for understanding and a sense of peace to be restored, a sense of calm and confidence. "
Focusing on missions, the church has collected monies for disaster relief, donated blankets to the Veterans Hospital and provides school supplies to Ficquett Elementary School.
On Sundays, a traditional worship service is offered at 8:30 a.m. and a blended service with a praise band follows at 11 a.m.
For more information on Salem UMC located at 3962 Salem Road in Covington and the Salem Barbecue and community event, call (770) 786-6027 or e-mail salemumc@bellsouth.net.

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