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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Garage sale supports growing church

Friday, June 25, 2010

Roachdale Presbyterian Church minister Alan Small says a close look at the church's pews reveals what a vibrant church it has been in the past. The church is hosting a garage sale during the town's Summerfest festivities today and tomorrow.
ROACHDALE -- Since coming to the Roachdale Presbyterian Church five years ago, lay minister Alan Small has concentrated on opening the doors of the church to the community and encouraging his congregation to be a part of that community.

"In a small town like this it is important to be a part of the community," he said.

With the revitalization of the SummerFest in the small town, the church and its members are playing a vital role in the events today and Saturday. Along with having a presence at many of the festival's events, the church will also be holding a garage sale in the basement of the church beginning today.

For weeks, church members and residents of Roachdale have been collecting items to be sold to help benefit the church's youth ministry. Tables upon tables in the basement are filled with a variety of children's clothing, housewares, books, toys and a wide variety of miscellaneous items.

The church provides several opportunities for children throughout the year, and Small said he is looking to do more for the children of the community. Money raised will help to fund a vacation Bible school later this summer, help support a tutoring program that is run at the church two days a week through the school year and just provide more opportunities for the youth.

Last year, with help from a literacy grant from the Putnam County Community Foundation, the church was able to buy books and tutor children after school. Two years ago they held a Reading Adventure Camp during the summer to help get the children back into the swing of things before school started.

Small believes that attracting young families and children to his congregation will help to keep it growing and vital in the community. Just in the last couple of years, he said attendance at the church that dates back to the early 1900s has steadily been on the rise.

He credits the church's involvement in the community and his efforts to get out and meet the residents of the community for the growth.

"Every afternoon I try to visit the people and various business around town," he said. "That not only allows me to be able to keep up with what's going on in town, it also allows me to do some informal pastoral visits.

"We are picking up new people all the time and they are enthused about what we are doing here in the community," Small added.

Along with holding the garage sale, members of the congregation will be having a bake sale uptown, Small will be emceeing the pet parade, and youth from the church will be riding on a float built by church members in the play.

"We have had a lot of support and a lot of people helping us get things ready for the festival," he said.

After 29 years as a principal at Jones Elementary School and Deer Meadow Elementary School in Greencastle, Small came to the church on an interim basis five years ago. He also served as principal at Roachdale Elementary from 1980-82.

After the loss of their pastor, the church was looking for someone to lead the congregation.

While filling in at the church, Small took training to become a commissioned lay pastor with the Presbyterian Church and has never looked back. He also serves as pastor at The Waters in Greencastle.

"I couldn't imagine doing anything else these days," he said.

He said one of the reasons he decided to take the position as lay pastor with the church was because the church is such a vital part of the community.

"All three of the churches here in the community play a vital role," he said.

Small dreams of one day being able to look out over the 100-year-old sanctuary and see no vacant seats in the pews.

"At one time this was a very vibrant church," he said. "You can tell because of all the sweat marks on the back of the pews. Looking down every row there are marks on the back of the pews."

The garage sale begins today and Saturday at 9 a.m. and will be open until the last person is served.

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I was absolutely delighted to see this article in your newspaper! I had the privilege of serving this church as pastor from 1990-1992, and even though it was for a short time, enjoyed my time there. The garage sale story reminds me of our 100th celebration of the church in November of 1990 and how we rode on a wagon pulled by two Clydesdales with everyone dressed in their antique clothing, ringing cowbells. We had a terrific day. We fed 150 that afternoon with six different kinds of turkey, 30 different kinds of pie and cake, an event that could never be forgotten! We recreated the original worship service, with the same hymns as originally sung, and a complete little museum of vintage clothing and antiques. We even brought in a pump organ for the service!

I am now pastoring in Newburgh, New York at the Union Church where I have been for the last nine years after serving churches in Pittsburgh and Central Pennsylvania. I remember Roachdale with fondness and wish only the best for the church and its congregation and again, am thrilled with the new life in the parish in its 120th anniversary year. May God bless you all and your pastor for what seems to be spirited and significant work in the name of our Lord.


Rev. Dave Mason

The Union Presbyterian Church, Newburgh

-- Posted by masondbd on Fri, Jun 25, 2010, at 10:36 PM

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