Congregational Church harvest festival ‘a way to reach the community’

Nov 6, 2023

ROCHESTER — The field outside First Congregational Church of Rochester was alive with activity on Saturday, Nov. 4 during the church’s first harvest festival. 

Saturday’s festival started as a “way to reach out to the community,” said First Congregational Church of Rochester Pastor Colby Olson.

“We decided this would be a good way to do it,” said Olson, who noted that many of the activities at the festival were run by church volunteers. “We worked through it, we prayed about it, we talked about it … and this seemed to be the best thing.”

One of Olson’s goals was to utilize the large field in front of the church. Children got to spend some time in a large bounce house, try riding a horse around the field, paint pumpkins and have their own faces painted by volunteers.

The centerpiece of the festival was a presentation by Linda Summer of Agape Puppet Ministries, who used costumes, hats and props to tell a faith-based story to a crowd of children and adults. 

Admission to the event was free but donations of non-perishable Thanksgiving foods were welcome. 

According to Olson, the church is stocking up on these supplies to make Thanksgiving baskets that are given to families in need. This initiative has been going on for “about five years,” said Olson.

“Any family in need, we try to reach out to them and provide them with a bunch of food that they can use for a number of weeks,” he said. “We’ve been collecting food for months. Every week we have different things we collect.”

According to Olson, the baskets are delivered to Tri-Town schools and homes based on need. 

“If [someone] has a need, they can contact our office and let us know and we’ll take care of them,” he said.