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Church holds first community pig roast

PINE PLAINS — The Pine Plains Episcopal Church of the Regeneration held its first community pig roast on Saturday, Aug. 13.Parishioner Amy Baden said that the purpose of the cookout is “to let the community know we’re here and that our doors are always open.”“Every charitable organization should have a day to say hello to the community,” said the Rev. Mike Shafer, priest at the church. He went on to say that he hoped the event helps people feel included in the community and lets everyone know there is a group that cares about them.The Episcopal Church of the Regeneration, which has operated since 1859, is part of the Pine Plains Council of Churches, which consists of four churches in town. The churches work together to offer the town services like a summer Bible study camp.Baden said that since the Episcopal Church of the Regeneration is not located on Main Street like the other churches, the community is not as familiar with it. “People forget we’re here,” she said.Since the church has a small population, one of the other goals of the pig roast was to increase the membership. That’s why the cookout was full of family-friendly, kid-oriented activities, said Baden.“Children are extremely welcome in our church. In other churches, there isn’t always that atmosphere,” she said.Baden also described how the church offers services for the children and encourages the youth to participate in the Mass.The pig roast exemplified the church’s dedication to welcoming the younger crowd.Musical duo Heidi and Jim Donnelly played family-friendly folk songs and encouraged the children to sing along.At a table nearby, youngsters painted colorful rocks that will be used to create a rock garden along the side of the church.Shafer noted that people of all denominations are welcome at the church. In the backyard, the church offers a meditation labyrinth, which Shafer says is a spiritual, not a religion-specific, way of attaining “a natural centering.”Baden said that she wants the pig roast to become an annual event. “Hopefully it will get bigger and better each year,” she said.

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