First Friday in November
November 7, 2008
First Presbyterian Church
138 N. Main Liberty
By Ed Chasteen
For 43 years now it has happened in our town on the first Friday in November. From 11 in the morning until 7 in the evening. At the Presbyterian Church. Homemade chili and pies. Many in our town show up. We meet and greet each other. We have bought our tickets already. Or we get them when we come. Either way the $6.00 we pay goes to support the good work done all year by The Fellowship of the Concerned.
Joe Wally and John Pritchard had a dream in the 1960s. They went to Julian Houston. Joe and John dreamed that black people and white people in our town would meet together on a regular basis to get to know each other and do things good for our town. Julian was pastor of the Presbyterian Church. Thus was the Fellowship of the Concerned born. So did it come to be housed at the Presbyterian Church.
For five decades now people needing a helping hand, a friendly face and a little help have come to the Fellowship. Without fanfare or formality, the Fellowship makes things happen when people are hurting. When someone needs a bus ticket, a car repaired, the utilities paid, groceries bought, a ride to the hospital, a little money to tide them over, the Fellowship helps. When local students need money for college, the Fellowship helps.
Every other Sunday morning from widely scattered places in our town we come. Two or three have come an hour earlier to fire up the stove and put on the coffee. By 6:45, all is ready, and the Fellowship sits down to breakfast. By 7:15 we are ready for business. Each member mentions the community needs he/she has learned of since the last meeting or tells what progress has been made with a problem previously brought before the Fellowship.
The Fellowship of the Concerned never has much money. Members dig in our pockets to help. We hold garage sales. Our big fundraiser comes on the first Friday of November every year. The Fellowship of the Concerned Chili Dinner has become an institution in our town, a cherished annual event central to our being a community, a wonderful life moment in time.
Friday, November 7th is the day this year. First Presbyterian Church is the place: 11 AM-7 PM is the time. Members are out and about in our town selling tickets. Buy several. Bring the whole family. Bring friends. If a member doesn’t get to you before November 7th, bring your money and come to the church. Get your tickets at the door. Join our town as we celebrate our goodness and demonstrate our generosity.