Children squealing as they plunge down a 40-foot waterslide, teenagers maneuvering through an inflatable obstacle course, adults struggling to reach the top of a climbing wall, and senior citizens arranging slaw and chili on tasty hot dogs. These images might not immediately suggest "church" to the outside observer, but on Aug. 21, that kind of fun is exactly what Oak Hill Church of the Nazarene will offer to the community.
According to planner Donna Legg-Hendrickson, the free event, referred to as Roundup, is an annual tradition and grows larger every year.
"It started as an evening when parents could enroll their children in our Wednesday night Caravan program, and it still is that at its heart, but over the years we've expanded and included more and more ministries," said Hendrickson.
The church will set up a big waterslide alongside a smaller one for the younger children. A castle bounce, obstacle course, climbing wall, meld down and a zipline, all from Fun Factory Inflatables, will provide fun and physical challenge. A kid-sized train will provide a gentle ride around the whole scene.
Free food will be provided to all attendees by the church's Goldeneers senior adult group, known for their monthly hot dog and bake sales.
During the event, volunteers will be able to provide information regarding the wide variety of opportunities for involvement provided by the Church of the Nazarene. Some of the programs fall within the realm of what's traditionally thought of as church, such as Sunday school classes, children's church, a choir, support of international missions, and Sunday morning and evening services. But, other opportunities are more unusual, according to the church's interim pastor, Benjamin Bleigh, including the Caravan Club held each Wednesday.
"You could call it a Christian scouting program," he said, adding elementary-aged children earn scripture-based badges for skills like cooking and time management, and in areas relating to character, like stewardship and team building. Hendrickson adds the program holds one "scarfing" ceremony each year during which badges are presented to the participants during a ceremony in front of an audience of family members and friends.
Teenagers aren't left out, the pastor points out. Pastor Sam McMinn leads the Attic Youth Ministry for teens, who also are given the opportunity to take part in service projects, acting and music groups, and various spiritual retreats and recreational trips.
Bleigh says the church offers a wide range of ministries from nursery ministries for infants all the way through senior adult groups.
"Basically, our goal is to offer a way for you to get involved, no matter what stage of life you're in, and, in the process, we believe you'll encounter God and learn what it means to truly be in a relationship with Christ," he says. "This event is just one of the ways we strive to provide an easy entry point into this faith ministry."
The event, which is free to the entire community, runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21.
Swimsuits may be worn under clothes for those who plan to participate in the water slides.
The Oak Hill Church of the Nazarene is located at 3221 East Main Street in Oak Hill. Anyone with questions can call Hendrickson at 304-640-7988, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.