Meg Carter has “never decorated cookies before,” and she doesn’t consider herself to be a great cook.
Yet, she and a small band of volunteers are today wrapping up the baking and decorating of 2,200 cookies they hope will sell at a Texas peach festival attracting as many as 60,000 people on July 10.
“It almost didn’t happen because I almost gave up,” said Meg.
The cookie sales are desperately needed to pay for a new air conditioner and children’s ministry materials at Calvary United Methodist Church in Weatherford, Texas. Meg is a participant in a new faith community (Grace Meadow Fellowship) that has recently grown the church from about three to 20 worshippers.
Located near Calvary in the same town, Couts United Methodist is a much larger church that has the market on homemade peach ice cream at the Parker County Peach Festival. Weatherford is 30 miles west of Ft. Worth, Texas.
“Couts sells about 8,000 servings of ice cream each year, netting about $20,000,” says the Rev. Clint Jones, pastor at both Couts (as associate) and Calvary.
When the air conditioner recently gave up the ghost at Calvary, Meg went on a quest to develop a cookie that could make an impression among the peach ice cream, beer, pies, popcorn, cupcakes, ribs and other food fantasies sold at the Parker County Peach Festival.
“I underestimated how much time it would take,” says Meg, who used vacation time to invest 150 hours in creating the peachy keen treats. The peach taste is in the icing. “I did 80 percent of the icing and wore my elbow out.”
Meg, Pastor Clint and a dozen others of all ages joined the effort, often working until 1 a.m. in the kitchen and fellowship hall at Couts United Methodist. (In the photos, you can see freezers containing thousands of servings of peach ice cream.)
The cookie challenges included finding the “right consistency and color” for the icing and developing a process that could be duplicated and taught to helpers.
“The first 500 cookies looked kind of rough,” said Meg, who discovered that adding red, pink and yellow sugar crystals to the cookies not only looked and tasted good, it also hid imperfections.
“Even if we go in the hole, it was worth it,” said Meg. She hopes to raise $2,000 to $3,000 during the festival’s eight-hour span. The cookies, which include some simpler round “sunset cookies,” will cost $2 to $3 each.
Both the pastor and the cookie-creator realized, in the midst of dough-rolling and sugar-sprinkling, that the community they built in the kitchen was the best fruit of all.
“I feel like we invested in the church’s future,” Meg said. “The time spent together, the quality of relationship-building — this project gave us space for that.”
July 12 story update: Rev. Clint Jones reports about 2,100 cookies were sold, including some after the festival, netting Calvary about $2,100 for the air conditioner. Couts sold $15,000 worth of ice cream! And “literally hundreds of people” received invitations to church.
For our Holston Conference readers: The Rev. Clint Jones is a native of Kingsport, Tennessee, and former pastor at Clouds Bend United Methodist Church. His wife, the Rev. Marilyn Jones, is former children and youth minister at First Broad Street United Methodist Church. She is now senior pastor at Couts United Methodist.
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