If thereâ€™s one way to raise money in Lincoln County, itâ€™s with good southern cooking.
Crouse United Methodist Church knows this and hopes meals catered by the Home Place will bring in donations to their Building Fund.
â€œOur church has grown so much in the last year or so that we just donâ€™t really have enough space,â€ said Mildred Chapman, a church member. â€œThe church is almost to the point of being overfilled on Sunday mornings.â€
The small church currently has 110 members and is â€œvery family oriented.â€ Besides regular services and classes, the church hosts a fall festival, trunk or treat event, blood drives and Easter and Christmas cantatas.
Chapman hypothesizes the churchâ€™s increased membership is due to an outgoing pastor and a friendly congregation.
â€œAnytime we have visitors come to our church, theyâ€™re always made to feel welcome,â€ Chapman said. â€œThe first Sunday (my husband and I) were there, we were just made to feel like we had been there forever.â€
That was 20 years ago, and the Chapmans, like so many other members, have remained faithful to the church.
Another reason for growth is an increasing population in the Crouse area in general.
Church member or not, everyone in the west Lincoln community is welcome to the churchâ€™s Sunday meals.
They will be held every month from noon to 2 p.m. beginning March 5. Proceeds will help build a new fellowship hall and eventually a new sanctuary.
The first meal will be country style steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, dessert and coffee or tea. Customers can eat in or take out.
David Heafner, owner of the Home Place, is a member of the church.
Organizers hope the Sunday meal will bring in steady funds. The church is currently in the first stages of its project with an architect sizing up the site.
by Sarah Grano