Ireton (Iowa) Christian Reformed Church’s second community pig roast this August is one way the congregation has tried to be more visible in the community. Focusing on a call by pastor Nate Kuperus to “double their efforts in person-to person contact,” congregation members were encouraged to connect with neighbors before inviting them to the pig roast.
The event also became a way for the church to give back to the city, raising $400 toward a new concession stand and bathrooms for the softball diamond. According to Kuperus, this pig roast has come to be known not as a church event, but a community event. He said, “The city council even invited me to their city council meeting where I was able to share our plans, and they said they wouldn't charge us anything for use of the park or buildings. The city is considering this a city event.”
On Saturday, Aug. 24, this year’s roast included a barbecue cookoff with 13 contestants, face painting, and swimming at the city pool.
Along with the support from city council, 18 local businesses and organizations participated. Kuperus was asked what he hopes the pig roast does for the church and community. For the church, he hopes it gives them one more reason to connect, and that’s also a benefit for the city of Ireton because “if the town's (people) get to know each other better, we can build a stronger, healthier community!”
Angela Dekkers, a member at Ireton CRC, who took photos at the pig roast, said, "We are a very small town and we should know our neighbors.” Moved by the encouragement from her church family to live this out, she said she and her husband have “continued to reach out more frequently to our closest neighbor after the lost of his wife. We knew him before and talked to him every so often, but after his loss, we really wanted to help him. We brought him meals, we had a garden together, since him and his wife loved to do that together, and we also invited him over to our house for meals every so often.”