It happens twice a year here in Morristown. Well at least it happens twice a year in non- pandemic years. We have BBQ in the fall and the spring. The build up for BBQ is slow and gradual. The planning behind the scenes is deliberate and intense. So many moving pieces have to fall into place for a BBQ weekend to be successful. 

We start planning for the next BBQ as soon as the last one wraps up. While the event is still fresh in our minds, we have a postmortem meeting to discuss what went right, what could have gone better, and how we might improve. Then we rest for a couple of months before we get ready for the next BBQ. 

A group of 15 or so faithful parishioners have been meeting for months carefully planning for October 6-8, 2022. This year we had to order a new tent to replace the one the windstorm destroyed last spring. We also made the decision to buy shelves to store equipment inside the church downstairs. We can also use the same shelving to hold orders for our growing corporate sales. 

A dozen people met a couple weeks ago on a Saturday morning to brew 110 gallons of All Saints’ BBQ sauce. We started at 8:00 AM and finished around 1:00PM. Under the leadership of Bob Harmon the whole event went off like clockwork. Bottling the whole inventory of sauce took place last week. 

Careful calculations were made and then checked and rechecked to order the required 6000 lbs. of pork butts, slaw makings, beans, and all the serving containers. Here again we are grateful for Bill Connellee for his amazing attention to detail to get these orders in on time. Susie Carter is our Queen of Slaw and Brooke White is our Queen of Baked Beans. The production of both BBQ sides require the coordination of numerous volunteers. 

John Hutchins and Udo Wender are the two pit masters who oversee the all-night flipping and sauce basting of the pork on Thursday and Friday. Two shifts of trustees help with the labor of turning the pork butts every hour. Countless wheel barrels full of hard wood scraps are hauled and carefully turned into coals that slowly smoke and cook the pork butts. When the meat comes off the pit there is an army of volunteer workers waiting and ready to grind the meat, weigh it and package it. Some of it is made into sandwiches and plate dinners. 

Inside the parish hall cardboard has been put down on the floor to protect it from all the constant back and forth traffic. Patty Kirkley & Kathy Jones-Terry head up tracking the Corporate sales. John Litz lets us borrow his gator to haul cooked meat up the hill. There is a beehive of activity constantly bringing out food and supplies to the tent where the sales are made. Of course we’ve gone high tech with a point of sales ordering system that allows us to keep track of everything thanks to Skeet Jernigan. Inside the church office Lynne Ann Anderson has been taking orders for a couple of weeks and that weekend works overtime to account for all the sales. 

Jack Fishman graciously spreads the word about All Saints’ BBQ through the Citizen Tribune and Anne Ross uses digital media and the Chamber to do the same. Carolyn Dean works with Tribune on placing our ads. The wardens of the parish, Howard Mauney and Colleen Andrews, have been tirelessly working behind the scenes for months, “herding the cats,” all the while listening to complaints and suggestions. The job is never ending and it’s always a work in progress. 

At some point you begin to see that this is really much more than a twice a year fundraiser. It’s a community of faith coming together with the goal a common purpose. It’s a labor of love that serves the wider community of Morristown. It brings us all closer together and let’s people know who we are. Before coming to Morristown I never really thought that BBQ could be sacramental. Having witnessed firsthand how much goes into each All Saints’ BBQ event, I can now see it all in a new light. 


I’m sure it is the engineer in me that is attracted to all of those quasi-reality television shows that feature old classic cars. I especially like the shows that discover barn-find cars that have been hidden away in storage for two or three decades or in some cases even more. There is something compelling about seeing a rare muscle car that somebody parked in the 70’s or 80’s and walked away and just left it only to see it be rediscovered in the 2020’s.

If the classic barn-find is not covered with a protective cloth then it is often covered in a thick layer of dust and dirt. Usually the car is buried under piles of stuff that have been resting on the hood, roof, and trunk. So these items need to be removed. Often the tires have dry rotted and have long since gone flat. So they might not hold air.

There is a meticulous process for verifying the status of the classic car. VIN numbers are checked against engine block numbers. Any documenting papers are also checked to verify the history and collectability of the car. Old gas needs to be emptied from the gas tank. All engine fluids and filters need to be replaced. A new battery will need to be installed. Then everyone holds their breath to see if the engine has ceased up or will it turn over. Being able to turn over is crucial for bringing life back to this barn-find car.

Science says, “What you don’t use, you lose.” This is to say when we stop using something it immediately begins to atrophy. This is what has happened to us during the two-year pandemic. So many things that were a regular part of life went on hold. Ministries we relied upon ceased. The rules for what it means to live in community with each other changed overnight. Now that we are beginning to emerge from the Covid pandemic we are faced with the task of “restarting the car” that has been sitting idle for more than two years.

Part of the process for restarting up of a church includes a good measure of discernment. Do I really want to keep doing this? Is this particular ministry something I want to continue doing? Maybe I would rather change something out and replace it with something better? Will I even continue to use this “church” for the same tasks or will I now need it for something completely different?

In a post pandemic world we are rediscovering what it means to be the Church in 2022. Like a classic car, certain built-in features and options may no longer be relevant for the Church of the future. We are going to have to reimagine what the mission of the Church will look like moving forward. It might be leaner. It might be smaller. It might have to be more flexible and learn how to adjust to new demands. All this means we most likely will be able “restart the car” without too much effort. But it also means that once we have it up and running again that we might have a few “extra left over parts” that are no longer required to make the car work.

When it comes to restarting a church that has been dormant for the past two years we will discover that some things will be left behind. We will learn what is really necessary and what it is that really want to do moving forward into the future. The mission will remain pretty much the same. We will spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. Only now, how we go about spreading the gospel might seem different because the church we are no longer looks very much like what we used to be.

Though as long as it still gets the job done, then I say, “Thanks Be to God!”