St. Peter Lutheran Church in Weyauwega will host a free Community Thanksgiving Dinner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 28.
“It is probably the first major community event since the school opened and what a more appropriate time than to have something at Thanksgiving,” said the Rev. Dennis Lemke.
The new school opened this fall, and the church’s expansion project also included a new commons, office space and gym. The narthex is in the process of being completed.
A dedication is being planned for March 30, 2014.
The dinner will be hosted in the commons, which overlooks Lake Weyauwega.
“With being blessed with this facility, we want the community to see what God has blessed us with, and the surrounding communities also,” said Tracy Whitman. “By coming on Thanksgiving, people will be able to see we can host speakers and events that we could not in the past. We want to share the facility with the community. It is kind of a kick off to open the doors.
Whitman, a member of the church’s Planning Committee, said the idea to host a Thanksgiving dinner for the community originated in their Member Ministry Committee.
“With the new facility, one of the main things we wanted to do was to have this meal,” she said.
Lemke said their original thought was about the number of people who are alone on Thanksgiving and how such a meal would be a way to get people together for food and fellowship.
With space in the commons for between 200 and 300 people to be seated at one time, St. Peter Lutheran is planning for about 200 people for its first ever Community Thanksgiving Dinner.
They sought advice from churches in Waupaca which take turns hosting an annual dinner on Thanksgiving.
“We’re lucky enough to have restaurant owners (in the congregation) who know how to serve that many people,” Whitman said.
Posters and flyers about the event have gone out throughout the community and beyond.
The dinner will include turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, homemade coleslaw, homemade cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, applesauce and a variety of desserts.
Donations for the meal have been received from members of St. Peter Lutheran Church and from businesses and residents of Weyauwega and other area communities.
The dinner will follow the church’s 9:30 a.m. Thanksgiving church service, which will be broadcast live on WDUX AM.
Those who attend the service before the meal will have time to mingle with others and check out the church’s new space.
Transportation will be available within Weyauwega’s city limits. To make arrangements, call the church office at 920-867-3169. Rides may be scheduled up until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27.
The Green Bay Packers football game, which begins at noon that day, will be shown on televisions.
Whitman said some members of their congregation are talking about making this a new family tradition, in which they first volunteer before eating together.
Volunteers will meet at the church the day before Thanksgiving to do prep work.
The church’s youth group is also among those who are assisting with the event.
Members of the group will help with set up and clean up.
Visit St. Peter Lutheran Church’s website at www.splwega.net or its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Peter-Evangelical-Lutheran-Church-and-School-Weyauwega-WI/169773976376863 for more information about its ministries.
“This is hopefully the first of many future events in which we want to make ourselves more accessible to the community and to express our thankfulness to the Lord for all the great blessings we’ve experienced,” Whitman said. “We want to share those blessings with the community.”
Lemke said the Community Thanksgiving Dinner is the church’s first step into community outreach.
“Hopfully, it’s one of many,” he said. “We are extremely thankful for what we have. We want to express thanks in that way.”