From the Outreach Committee:
After several months of prayer, discernment and discussion, the Outreach Committee decided at its meeting last week not to proceed with the Pumpkin Patch this year. As you might imagine, this was a difficult decision, but we decided that at least for now, a break is in order. This decision in no way diminishes the impact the Patch has had on the church and the community over the past nine years, and all of us should be proud of those efforts and all of the volunteer hours from hundreds of people during that time. The Committee will be thinking about alternatives for raising funds for the recipients of proceeds from the Patch, and also will be working on ideas for another (albeit much smaller scale) volunteer/fund-raising activity for the fall. We would of course appreciate thoughts that anyone might have on either of those topics.
Ultimately, we decided that a combination of three primary factors, (i) the trend over the past couple of years towards less money raised despite no fewer volunteer hours (but fewer volunteers), (ii) the lack of a large pool of potential co-leaders for the Patch (only one person expressed any interest in being a co-leader, and while we very much appreciate that person’s interest, the leadership task has become too big for a single individual), and (iii) increased competition from supermarkets and big box stores (particularly for the odd-colored and shaped pumpkins that used to help us stand out from the crowd), would make it difficult to justify all that we ask of the Congregation to make the Patch happen. We recognize the benefits of the Patch: donations to charitable organizations, increasing our visibility in the community and providing the opportunity for fellowship among the Congregation through a shared effort. The magnitude of the effort required of the Congregation to make it work, however, seems to have outgrown those benefits.
Our decision is only for this year—we feel like it is important that the Committee and the Congregation revisit this question next spring and make a more permanent decision—at that time the Committee will again ask for thoughts from the Congregation on how to proceed.
Thanks very much.