ILLINOIS—On September 17, around 50 members from the Chicago and Wisconsin congregations, joined by Evangelist Stephen Flurry and his wife, gathered at Shiloh Park in Zion, Illinois, for a congregational picnic with a theme of “Into the Cosmos.” Space decorations adorned the pavilion where the event was held, and the theme was emphasized further by a bottle rocket launch that happened later in the afternoon.
It was a cold, drizzly morning with overcast skies, but the rain let up enough for the children’s games, organized by member Chester Ewers and his wife. Toddlers and teenagers alike participated in a water balloon toss, water balloon dodgeball, a relay game and a “lava walk,” where teams had to reach the finish line by stepping on and passing paper bags. Prizes were handed out to the winning teams of each game.
12-year-old Jakob said, “The games were awesome, and I liked playing with other kids and having fun with them.”
After huddling under the pavilion to avoid the rain and eat lunch, a friendly blue sky appeared in time for the rocket launch to begin. Members had spent the previous weeks fashioning rockets out of two-liter plastic bottles. The rockets were launched one by one, and Horicon member Matt Yench measured the final heights of each. A bumblebee rocket belonging to member Brenda Miller won the launch height award, and a Wisconsin cow-themed rocket belonging to Nick Bush won for creativity. Another category, entered only by Jakob and Preaching Elder David Weeks, was which rocket was “the biggest and baddest.” Contestants in this category could build rockets that were larger than two liters. Jakob, whose silver rocket, named “Titan II,” won this category despite bursting under the pressure before take-off.
Jeanette Ewers said, “Picnics are a great way to get to know the brethren more. It’s always nice to spend more time with them. This picnic was a fun, uplifting experience for everyone.”