In Madison, Georgia, there are several fall traditions without which it is just not fall in Madison, Georgia. Football is close to the top of that list. When I attended Morgan County High School in Madison, the team was not state champion material, but that did not really matter. Most schedules I knew of revolved around the game from September through November of each year. On many of those Friday nights when there was a home game, the thing to do before the game was to eat barbecue. Every organization in town had one in the fall so no one ever had to make supper plans on Friday evenings when the Morgan County Bulldogs were playing at home. The churches had them; the boosters had them; the recreation department had them. If you were part of a community organization in Madison, Georgia, you were preparing, selling and eating shredded pork barbecue with Brunswick stew, slaw, and a piece of white bread many a Friday night and/or Sunday afternoon.
I am a lover of barbecue. I was thrilled to discover that Oak Grove has it’s own barbecue tradition when I arrived because this is something I could really support! But when I discovered the scale to which this event is accomplished year after year, I was stunned. There were only about 3,500 people living in Madison, Georgia when I lived there. To think of 5,000 people or more coming onto our property to enjoy a good meal, the culinary delights of the bake sale, to find some good books to take home, and to experience the warm hospitality of this congregation, I was even more excited. What a brilliant idea: we find our way into the hearts of this community through their stomachs!
I’m looking forward to my first Oak Grove Barbecue. I am excited to see how we all come together to make it happen. I look forward to watching relationships strengthen and even form while we work. I am happy to invite some of my local friends to enjoy the day with my family: my husband, my daughter, and all of you.
As we prepare our building, grounds, foods, bodies, and hearts for this incredible outreach event in the life of our church, may Christ call on us to take it one step further this time in reaching out to folks in our neighborhood who may desperately need not just food for their stomachs but also, and perhaps more importantly, food for their souls. See you at the Q.
-Rev. Susan Allen Grady