Weaverville – Brookstone Church held its yearly picnic and baptism event on Sunday, attracting a crowd of several hundred. The event began with a prayer, led by senior pastor Jim Dykes.
“Lord, for these who are being baptized, bless and encourage them as well. I pray that everything that happens tonight … will bring glory and honor to you,” Dykes prayed.
Local vendors served food at the event, including Rita’s Italian Ice and Amelia’s Kitchen.
Five food stations were set up around the perimeter of the event, each grilling and serving free hot dogs for those in attendance. Coolers were visible in various places, containing chilled beverages.
Dykes told the Tribune that this year’s church picnic included a surprise that none of the church members were expecting.
“This is an announcement we’re making tonight that nobody knows about yet. What we’re doing is this park, the soccer fields, the playground, picnic pavilion, walking trail, this whole area is a vision that we have had to create for the community for the last couple years. We haven’t been able to build it because we don’t have the funds yet.”
The church already owns the property in question, estimated by the pastor at about 30 acres, but hasn’t been able to develop it.
“We’ve been given a gift. What I’m announcing to the church tonight is, the park has been paid for, and we’re going to begin construction in the next couple weeks.”
The pastor wouldn’t reveal to the Tribune who gifted his congregation the funds needed to develop the land. “It’s a secret,” he said.
When asked what the purpose of the event was, Dykes explained that, “This is just an annual event that we do where we all come down here once a year for a picnic.”
The yearly church cookout has taken place for over a decade, according to Dykes.
“We bought this property 12 years ago and we just moved into the church last November. All of those 12 years, we’ve been meeting here once a year and doing a big service.”
Brookstone Church’s extensive land development will be accessible by those not affiliated with the church, Dykes said. The project is meant to be for the community as a whole, he said.
“There’s going to be a one-mile walking trail, a three-field soccer complex and a picnic pavilion. This will be open to the community, to serve the community.”