Hunting Expo Connects Church with Its Community

Post a Comment » Written on December 3rd, 2003     
Filed under: News
POPLAR, WI (December 3, 2003)  – POPLAR, WI (December 3) – The seventh annual Hunters Expo, sponsored by  Mission Covenant Church, drew more than 500 people, providing an  opportunity not only for instruction, but good fellowship as well.

The November 19 free event came just three days before the State of  Wisconsin’s opening of gun deer season. Seminars on various aspects of  hunting were highlighted and parishioners supplied the fixings for a  potluck meal.

Mission Covenant pastor Darrell Nelson, an avid bowhunter organized the  event after his congregation moved into a larger building in 1996. The  goal was to help promote safe, ethical hunting in the area, as well as  provide a connecting point for congregants and other members of the  community. The Expo, which drew more than 250 people in its first year,  has averaged 550 in recent years. Nelson considers the informal  conversations with people not involved in the church as a bonus,  recognizing that the goodwill generated in the community is helpful,  too. For many residents, the fact that the church does something so  practical communicates in a way that a sermon cannot do. Other churches  have picked up on the idea.

“There’s a Wesleyan church about 60 miles down the road that does this  now,” Nelson observed. “A few of their guys came to our show and got  excited, and about a half dozen other shows in northern Wisconsin and  northern Minnesota have gotten into it.”

According to one local news account, the big attraction of this year’s  event was the 70 trophy deer mounts and huge racks that lined the walls  and stretched down the Sunday school wing. All of the racks and mounts  were on a one-night loan from hunters in the area. Each rack was labeled  with the hunter’s name and the year he or she shot the buck. Local  television stations documented the event in their newscasts.

“There was one other church in Sparta, Wisconsin, who called it a  Hunters Rendezvous,” said Nelson in describing how his church got  started with the Expo. “They brought in speakers for a seminar, but they  don’t bring in the buck mounts like we do. One of the men of the church  said he wanted to have a game feed and I said, ‘Why don’t we have a  hunting show?’ Our community donates various items and that’s what keeps  the costs down – we have a $400 budget for this – we give recognition to  local businesses and everyone in the church brings food.

“The biggest advertisement is the buck mounts,” Nelson continued.  “People are fascinated by them. And in a small town like ours, this is  tradition.”

Mission Covenant is located on the south shore of Lake Superior, 25  miles east of Duluth, Minnesota. The congregation of 450 is located in a  county that has 29,000 people. Nelson is in his 16th year as pastor of  the church.

For more information about the Expo, call Nelson at 715-364-2738.

Copyright © 2011 The Evangelical Covenant Church.

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