MORRIS – Each year, the 30 New Community Christian Church junior high and senior high school youth attend Christian camps where they hear inspiring messages and enjoy uplifting fellowship, said to youth pastor Jake Raymer.
And the community can help make that happen with just one pork chop.
The youth group’s first pork chop fundraising dinner is from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the New Community Christian Church, 705 E. Washington St., Morris. Carryouts begin at 10 a.m. and continue until the event ends.
“One of our organizers has done these for different organizations in the past and had seen good results,” Raymer said. “They’re easy to pull off and we have a lot of people helping us, so we thought we’d give it a try.”
A single grilled pork chop – with sides – is just $8 and $10 for a two grilled pork chop dinner. Side dishes are baked beans, apple sauce and dessert. Many of those desserts will be homemade.
In the past, the youth groups raised camp costs through car washes and bake sales, and Raymer said they are considering offering them again, although no dates are set. Camp fees are $165 for junior high schoolers and about $200 for the high school students, Raymer said.
The organization hosting the high school camp charges $300 a student but the church subsides that cost; the exact reduced amount is not yet known, Raymer said. However, community support at fundraising events, such as the pork chop dinner, further lower the cost per student. No child is denied camp due to inability to pay.
“We usually have someone from church [put] out a donation in the offering plate and mark it for camp,” Raymer said. “So we get money that way, too.”
Junior high campers attend Little Galilee Christian Camp in Clinton, just south of Bloomington. This year, from July 6 to 11, 130 campers will gather to play games, sing worship songs around the campfire, be challenged through sermons and preaching, and sleep in “really nice cabins.”
“It’s a good opportunity for kids to unplug from their daily lives and just spend intentional time growing spiritually, getting into the word and spending time with other people who want to grow in the same way they are,” Raymer said.
From June 23 to 28, the senior high school students attend the “MOVE – Christ in Youth” event at Hope College in Michigan. The students will stay in dorms that week with about 1,200 other youth.
They will hear nationally known speakers, worship bands and preachers, as well as fellowship with their peers. It’s particularly satisfying for Raymer to watch the youth develop their understanding of God and what it actually means to follow Jesus, he said.
“A lot of times it’s hard for them to live out that faith in front of their non-Christian friends,” Raymer said. “We encourage them that it’s OK and that what other people think don’t matter. That’s a good message for anyone to hear.”
For information, call New Community Christian Church at 815-942-4255.