Fishers UMC Blog

Why Do We Have A Pumpkin Patch?

Pumpkins???

That's what I first said when I heard we were doing a pumpkin patch. It was the first major project when I joined the church, five weeks after I started the Pumpkin Patch would open for the first time. I have nothing against pumpkins, they're a very nice gourd and all, but I didn't understand why we were selling them and what impact that would make.

Now I know different, but I don't know if everyone else knows why we do the Pumpkin Patch.

The obvious reason is the money. This is a no risk fundraiser, we do not pay for the pumpkins up front and give a percentage of what we sell back to the company. If we didn't sell a single pumpkin we would not lose any money. And the more we sell the higher the percentage of what we keep.

And where does this money go? We tithe ten percent back to the student ministry. This is used to pay for odds and ends that we need and anything we buy for the pumpkin patch like this year's new tent. We then give a set amount to each mission trip to buy down the cost of those trips. Without the Pumpkin Patch and other giving like the missions committee the cost of the sr. high summer mission trip would be around $500/person (it varies based on where we go, how many adults go, rental vans, etc.). Thanks to these other groups and selling pumpkins, the mission trip is $250-$300 depending on when you sign up.

The rest of the money is broken down based on hours worked at the patch. We then use that number to pay each person who worked an hourly wage and put that money into an account for each student they are associated with (family members have their hours go to their student, people can request their hours go to a student, etc.). So the more you work the more money in your account that you can use for things like the mission trip. Because of this we have students who have never paid for a mission trip, retreat, even a t-shirt because they banked up so much money in their account working at the pumpkin patch and our other fundraiser, selling concessions at Upwards.

But there is one other big reason for the pumpkin patch. We get to be a part of the community. Most fundraisers are targeted at the same people, those who attend our church. This one is completely outside the four walls of Fishers United Methodist Church. It is very visible in our area (we have been called "the Pumpkin Church" more than once). This is a great conversation starter with people about our church and asking them to join us for worship. We give out a flyer inviting people to our Sunday morning services and our Christmas Eve services. So if you know someone you would like to invite to church but they would not be interested in that conversation, would they be interested in buying a pumpkin and supporting students serving those in need all over America? Bring them to the patch and start that conversation.

In my time here at Fishers UMC I have taken hundreds of students on mission trips, and Liz has too. Thanks to the Pumpkin Patch many students are able to go without worrying about finances, and we have been able to give a little extra financial support to the work sites we serve at. So please, consider buying a pumpkin at our patch. Invite your friends, family and co-workers to support this ministry. If you are able, we'd love it if you could sign up to work a two hour shift. One of our biggest hurdles is students who want to work at the patch but their parent can't work with them (and we won't let students work by themselves), you working with them would help them raise money, be a light to the community, and you'd get to know a great student who loves Christ. Sign up for a shift at http://signup.com/go/PVWCNVV.

Thank you for supporting the Pumpkin Patch, it goes far beyond a decoration on your porch.

Troy Richards
Director of Sr. High Student Ministries and Modern Worship
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Airports & Homecomings

I love going to airports.  But not when I have to fly.  It’s not that I dislike flying.  The actual flying is fine.  It’s everything else one has to go through these days.  The “cattle-call” of the security checkpoint lines where you have to show ID 3 times; emptying all your pockets, your watch and cell phone, your belt, removing your laptop from your brief case; no nail clippers, no liquids over 3 ounces [I lost a wonderful gourmet horse radish sauce to that one]; the anxiety caused because you can’t remember – “do my socks have holes in them?” as you untie your shoes to put them into a bin to be scanned; and the list goes on; & then there is the occasional “privilege” of being invited to a table by the wall waiting while a TSA agent handles every item in your carry-on – it makes me feel “so special!”  Once past the checkpoint you experience the “joy” of shuffling single file onto these flying greyhound buses and being shoehorned into seats made for the average 5’0” 100lb contortionist.  There’s more but I think you get the idea…it’s not my favorite thing to do.

Still, I love going to airports – not to leave but to watch people coming home.  I was recently reminded of going to the airport a few years ago to pick Joyce up as she was coming home from getting her mother resettled in her home in Florida.  I got there early [one of my quirks].  As always I position myself near the security checkpoint leading to all gates.  I watch others gathered there and those walking toward them from the gates.  I watch the faces as people stand on tiptoe and scan every face in the crowd hoping for “that” face they have been waiting for.  Those coming from the planes are searching too.  Suddenly, eyes light up and grins transform faces, and people press closer, sometimes even running to meet the one they have longed to see.  There are hugs and kisses all around! 

For a moment everything else fades away.  Cell phones are shoved into pockets; brief cases and carry-ons are tossed aside and people gather their loved ones up into their arms.  From toddlers to great-grandparents to world weary business travelers and everyone in between - from what I have seen it is almost universal – everyone is looking for someone they recognize as they long to come home at the end of their flight.

But as I watch I have seen a few others in the crowd as well:  those waiting for loved ones to return scan the faces of every last passenger only to be left peering down the empty gateway after everyone has come through.  Their loved one didn’t come home.  And there are passengers who make their way from the gates searching the crowd only to find that everyone who waits, waits for someone else.  There is no one to welcome them home.  I watch as they sidestep people who have dropped everything for their hugs.  They wistfully watch reunions they had hoped to have.

There’s a story in the Gospel of Luke that Jesus tells that is all about airports and coming home.  At least it would be if there had been airports back then.  It’s about a man and his 2 sons; 1 who asks for his inheritance and leaves home and blows it ALL on things of no value; and 1 who stays home but fails to see the value of all he has.  The boy who spent it all finds himself, hungry and lonely and longs to come home.  In his hunger for home he finally overcomes his pride and makes the long journey home wondering if his father will accept him back after the way he has turned his back on him and his life and love.  The boy finally turns off the road, walks through the gate, and the whole airport scene takes place.  His dad has been waiting and watching – peering down the lane hoping to see a face he recognized – THE face he has been waiting so see ever since the boy left home.  His dad spots him and he runs.  He Runs!  He wraps his son in a bear hug, smothers him with kisses, and weeps for joy that his son has come home.  It didn’t matter where he had been or what he had done or who he had done it with – he was home!

That’s exactly what God does with us.  We want to do our own thing and we wander away.  But all the while God is searching for us, waiting and watching for us to come home.  It doesn’t matter where we have been or what we have done or with whom, when we finally turn our hearts toward “home” God Runs to meet us.  In His love for us God wraps us in His embrace, smothers us with kisses, and weeps for joy for His son, His daughter, has come home.

I got my reunion that day too.  The prettiest girl in the airport came up to me and we hugged and kissed and cried.  Finally, I took her suitcase and, with my arm around her, we went home.  Like I said, I love going to airports.  I think God does too.

For The Only Cause That Matters,
Kevin McKinney
Sr. Pastor
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