The congregations of the Oahe Presbyterian Church in Pierre and the Onida Presbyterian Church of Onida will meet together, along with all others who wish to join, at Farm Island for morning worship July 11. The 10:30 a.m. service is followed by a potluck meal.

“Please bring your lawn chair, sunscreen and bug spray,” Pastor Rachel Byrum of the Oahe Church said. “If you plan to stay for the meal, don’t forget your dish to pass, and a dish and utensils to eat off of.”

Saxbury said the event usually has a good turnout, especially from the Onida congregation. Many stay the weekend at the campground. The annual event averages around 50 to 60 people, depending on the weather.

“Our two churches have been coming together for a number of years — unsure how many — to worship together once a year, followed by a time of fellowship,” Pastor Kathy Saxbury from First Presbyterian Church said. “Our two churches have always been closely connected including sharing pastors at times if one of the congregations was in between pastors. We enjoy taking the time to worship together, as it is often the only time all year we can do so. The two pastors, who are now Rachel and myself, lead the worship service together. We alternate our piano accompanists each year; this year Jolene Schall from First in Onida is playing the keyboard.”

The dual service is a typical traditional worship service with hymns. It does include a keyboard and a sound system, and worship is done at one of the reserved picnic areas that has electricity. The service will be live-streamed on the First Presbyterian Church, Onida, SD Facebook page.

“My sermon will be part of a summer sermon series I have been preaching,” Saxbury said. “We are exploring different people from the Bible and what we can learn from them. This Sunday, we will be focusing on the apostle Peter, specifically exploring Matthew 14:22-33, where Peter tries to walk on water, and how he starts to sink when he has doubts in Jesus.”

The main potluck dish is provided by Brock Aspelin of Brock’s Butcher Block in Onida. The churches provide water and lemonade.

Saxbury said attendees need to have a park pass or pay admission for the day. She said they are aware money can be tight for some people and it’s not unheard of for some to carpool to the worship service.

For more information, call 224-2737.

Del Bartels | 605-224-7301

Reporter Del Bartels, a born and raised South Dakotan and a graduate from Black Hills State University, was the editor of a weekly newspaper for 17 years.

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