In recent years local churches, as well as those across much of the country, have realized that the appeal of the outdoor experience – the manner in which closeness to nature evokes spirituality and the religious overtones of hunting, fishing, hiking, and communion with the good earth – sends a powerful message.
Many churches have begun holding annual outdoor events as part of their overall ministry.
These events usually include a meal, often a barbeque feast or game dinner, vendors displaying their wares, drawings for door prizes, and speakers offering testimony.
Two such events on March 2 promise opportunities for fellowship, exchange of thoughts on what the outdoor experience means, the anticipation of the upcoming turkey season, and listening to devoted Christian outdoorsmen.
In Chester, veteran sportsman, noted turkey hunter, wildlife management specialist and all-around good guy Rog Rodgers is spearheading the first such event at Second Baptist Church. It will be held at the church at 5 p.m. and will feature a BBQ chicken dinner, spokesmen from the S. C. Department of Natural Resources, exhibits of new equipment, and drawings for door prizes valued at more than $8,000.
Tickets for the event are $15 and are available at Nichols Store, Farmers’ Exchange, or at the door. For additional information, call Rog Rodgers at 803-367-1213.
One of the highlights will be Rodgers sharing his outdoor experiences and how they have shaped him religiously. I’ve been privileged to spend some time afield with Rodgers, filming turkeys and hunting the great American birds. He’s the real deal, a sincere and likeable individual, and he’s obviously poured his heart and soul into this event.
In Rock Hill, on March 2 the West End Baptist Church on McConnells Highway will be holding its third annual Rites of Spring event. It begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. The $10 ticket includes a BBQ lunch and drawings. Vendors will be on hand along with bluegrass music, activities for children, and a display of classic cars. The guest speaker is Perry Tuttle, former pro football player. Tuttle scored the winning touchdown in the 1982 Orange Bowl, earning Clemson a national championship. For tickets or information, call 803-327-2811.
On a somber note, is the death of Bill Biggerstaff. At various times Biggerstaff worked at Nichols Store, for Academy Sports, and as a sporting goods rep. He was exceptionally knowledgeable when it came to the sports collectibles and I enjoyed talking with him on subjects such as custom-made knives, turkey calls, books, and wild game cookery.
He was a staunch supporter of the Boy Scouts and often our conversations turned Horace Kephart, who spent the final 27 years of his life in Bryson City, N.C., where I grew up. Kephart was known as the “Dean of American Campers” for his work and writings.
Biggerstaff enjoyed joining folks from the Schiele Museum (Gastonia, N.C.) in reliving the primitive camping experience, much as Kephart wrote about it in his book “Camping and Woodcraft.”
Biggerstaff was bigger than life in person and personality, and I’ll miss his occasional phone call which always began with “Doc, I’ve got a question for you.” He was an immensely likeable guy and I, for one, will miss him a great deal.