First Baptist Church holds Harvest Fair
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Lebanon - posted Mon., Sep. 30, 2013
Manning the main table at the First Baptist Church of Lebanon Harvest Fair on Sept. 28, June Harvey and Bev Duntz had to think a bit about how long the church had been hosting the event. “I’ve been here 20 years and they started a little bit after I came,” said Harvey. The women eventually agreed that the church had been hosting the Harvest Fair for 15 years at its location on the far end of the mile-long Lebanon Town Green.
Over the years, church parishioners have produced three editions of the church’s cook book, participated in countless Monday Afternoon Stitchers sessions, amassed hundreds of items for the annual tag sale, and produced countless baked goods. The Monday Stitchers gather weekly to sew stuffed animals, quilted table runners and tree skirts, knitted scarves and hats, and other items to sell at the fair. In addition to tag sale items, sewn goods and cook books, the event offers a wide variety of baked goods for sale.
“We get together the Friday before the sale,” said Duntz. “Whoever shows up helps bake.” The baking is done in the kitchen of the church’s fellowship hall, a bright, airy room that is the building’s newest addition. Proceeds from previous Harvest Fairs have gone toward the building fund for the hall. Opened in 2011, the addition features a spacious kitchen with stainless steel appliances, gleaming hardwood floors and abundant, large windows.
The congregation’s previous meeting space, a former cheese factory moved to the site in 1904, has been converted into classrooms. The original sanctuary, built in 1841, is still used for Sunday morning services. The First Baptist congregation built the original sanctuary after the church was founded in 1805, according to Duntz. “I guess you could say that every century or so we have a big building project,” said Duntz, with a grin.
Duntz and Harvey brought out a copy of the First Baptist Church of Lebanon’s newsletter, “The Bell Ringer,” and pointed to the congregation’s mission statement: “It is our desire to be a worshipping, life-long learning people of Jesus, caring for each other, the community around us and the world beyond.”
Referring to their building, their congregation and their pastor, the Rev. Thomas Cowger, “They’re the best ever,” said the women.