calendar July 17, 2019 in Communications, Congregations, Faith in action

Pickleball Inspires Fellowship in West Chester

What could be more fun than a game of tennis or badminton or ping pong with friends? How about a game of pickleball—a combination of all of the above?

The two West Chester, Pa., congregations of Advent and Calvary Lutheran churches decided to apply for a Forward Together in Faith grant to allow them to set up a “Pickleball Ministry.” When awarded the grant, they bought the equipment (nets and paddles) and advertised in local newspapers and on road signs.

In addition, congregants and aspiring pickleball players posted on Facebook and other social media, and Jim Connor, from Advent, used Next Door to appeal to his local community.

The games—involving two teams of two players, each—are fun and interesting. Plenty of members of both churches show up to play and get to know one another, and the two pastors have been gratified to see how many non-church members—of all ages—have been showing up to play as well. The $1 entry fee goes to help support a local food bank.

Sam Sumner, from Calvary Lutheran, has friends at both churches and enjoys the game that he calls “entertaining, and, because it’s a sport, it’s attractive to the kids.”

“As stewards of the Gospel, we’re called to care for the bodies God has given us, and Pickleball Fellowship is a good way to do that,” says Pastor Dan Krewson, Calvary. “When we’re on the court, we’re exercising and communicating with each other, and supporting and encouraging one another. We communicate off the court as well.”

As folks hang out before, after and between games, small talk sometimes turns to “big talk,” as players share common hopes and hurts and even prayer requests, Pastor Krewson adds. “We’re creating a beloved community that both plays and prays together.”

Pastor Chris Franz, of Advent Lutheran, calls the fellowship “interesting, different and a wonderful way to connect with the community.”

He’s grateful to the synod for sponsoring the Forward Together in Faith campaign. “It’s a great way that the church is thinking outside the box … putting the church in front of people’s eyes and showing support to the community we share.”

— Brenda Lange