Church hosts second annual Chocolate Festival

November 30, 1999|By TARA REILLY

SMITHSBURG ? The countdown began at 10.

When it was done, Pastor Gerry Johnson took a pie to the face. And then another.

"It's not funny," the pastor joked Saturday, as members of Trinity Lutheran Church in Smithsburg and visitors chuckled at his chocolate-smeared face.

The event was part of the church's Chocolate Festival fundraiser. The money will help pay for a mission trip to New York for some of the church's younger members. While on the trip, they will help renovate homes for people who might not otherwise be able to afford the repairs, Johnson said.

The festival, in its second year, also was an opportunity "to open us up to the community," Johnson said.

"Our church is really striving to be active in the community," he said.

Johnson said he thought a chocolate-themed event would be a good way to evangelize and bring people together at church.

"Chocolate, I think, is a common denominator," he said. "It's very inviting ... You say chocolate to someone, and they think of fun. I think church should be fun."


The atmosphere of the event could make going to church attractive to visitors, Johnson said.

"People see our witness ? who we are ? through something as simple as chocolate," Johnson said.

About half of those who attended the festival were church members, while the other half were visitors, he said.

Church members made 70 pounds of candy to sell at the festival.

Other events included a silent auction, bake sale, chocolate chip cookie contest and the "Pie in the Eye of Pastor Gerry.

Eight-year-old Bryce Scharenbroch bought 24 chances for the opportunity to win a shot at throwing a chocolate pie at Johnson.

"He spent is whole $5 allowance to do it," said his mother, Kendra.

Bryce said he added an extra dollar to the contest, spending a total of $6 on chances. He ended up being among the winners.

On cue and with a broad smile, he pulled back his arm and smeared the pie in Johnson's face and hair.

Bryce said he thought he got a good deal for the $6.

"Yeah, because it was fun, and funny," Bryce said.

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