November 2, 2011

Lord's Acre Day 65th anniversary

Lord's Acre Day, quilt auction on steps of Powell Butte School (undated Spokesman photo)
For 65 years Central Oregonians have celebrated autumn’s zenith with Lord’s Acre Day, an annual harvest-timed event hosted by Powell Butte Church.
Begun in the post-WWII days of austerity and careful spending, Lord’s Acre was conceived as a way to raise badly-needed funds for a new church building. The idea, borrowed from African-American churches in the South that encouraged farmers to donate proceeds from one acre’s yield, proved successful.
In 1948, the event’s third year, $3,500 was raised from the sale of donated alfalfa, wheat, hogs, calves, geese and chickens, as well as handmade quilts, pies and a barbecue lunch.
Fifty-three years later, in 2001, the event raised $61,000.
The event gained momentum through the years, bringing back former residents and becoming the campaign stop of choice for politicians. Funds are used for church building needs, scholarships and mission work.
This year patrons will find much of the same offerings, from homemade baked goods to whole-hog sausage to canned pickles to quilts and firewood.
Eight years ago, Lord’s Acre added a 10K run and 5K run/walk to the mix; other traditions, such as the auction and pit barbecue, continue.

Lord’s Acre timeline

1948: Celebrity attendee is Senator Wayne Morse; barbecue served 650 (so many, in fact, that it was quickly decided to add a second serving line in 1949).
1951: Donations for sale included a gelding and many tables of “fancy work” handcrafts; a 470-pound steer (donated by rancher Earl Thompson) was barbecued and it fed 700 diners. Proceeds topped $5,000.
1959: More than 2,000 were served at the barbecue; Sen. John F. Kennedy, stumping for the presidential nomination, attended with his wife, Jackie, but the Spokesman’s coverage of the event was mostly about the dozens of former area residents who returned for the event.
1962: Thanks to Lord’s Acre proceeds, the church was debt-free; six lines are needed to feed the barbecue patrons; organ music is provided in the sanctuary for weary visitors needing peace and quiet from the hullabaloo; Gov. Mark Hatfield  sent regrets (but he did attend the previous year); $7,231 netted.
1971: Buses of seniors are brought in from the Willamette Valley; Oregon Secretary of State Clay Meyers attends; $10,500 in proceeds.
1980: Dave Frohnmeyer, candidate for Oregon Attorney General, attends; 800 pies sold.
1983: $26,250 in proceeds.
1995: More than 1,850 served at the barbecue; 3,400 pounds of fresh sausage is sold out in 90 minutes; $40,000 netted.
2001: Proceeds top $61,000.
2002: Church officials announce the need for a building expansion to serve the growing congregation.
2010: More than 1,200 cinnamon rolls sold; 1,000 gallons of beans cooked for the barbecue.

Lord’s Acre Day, Nov. 5
Powell Butte Church, Highway 126
10 & 5K run/walk: 9 a.m.
Pie slice sale: Begins 9 a.m.
Music: Begins 10 a.m.
Country store: Preview 9 a.m., sale 10 a.m.
BBQ lunch: Begins 11:45 a.m.
Auction: 1:30 p.m.

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