Sledding offers time for fun, fellowship at local church

Jan. 04, 2014 @ 07:07 PM

As one young boy ran by yelling that it was the best day of his life, Pastor Gary McCollough couldn't help but smile.

His Deep River church, Flat Springs Baptist Church, held its second annual sledding day on Saturday. They invited everyone living in the area with young children to come out and take turns sledding down a ramp made out of four tons of crushed ice. Dozens of families took the church up on the offer, with kids competing to see who could go the farthest or the fastest down the faux snow.

McCollough joked, however, that it was so cold they probably could've just hosed down the small hill overlooking the church parking lot instead of hiring a company to come in and make the snow — which was piled about four feet high at the top and gradually sloped down for about 20 feet.

"It's a fun event to get to get everyone in the community together, and to hopefully introduce more people to the church," he said.

Matt Riggsbee, the church's associate pastor who originally suggested the idea of a snow day, said it's about much more than having fun on sleds — even if that is a big part of it.

The church treated everyone to lunch afterward, and Riggsbee said beforehand he was also planning on giving a short talk about the importance of families — and especially children — attending church.

After a mini break for the past two weeks, he said, the church is starting back with its youth group and other services, and he's hoping to see a lot of the sledding families during its worship service today.

Diane Quiggle, a church member who was there with several grandchildren, said they were all having a blast. She wasn't planning to hop on one of the sleds herself, though — she just liked the idea of something to bring people from all over the rural Deep River area together in one place.

"I think it's great for the community," Quiggle said.

Heather McCracken, of Spout Springs in Harnett County, isn't a member of the church. She was there at the invitation of her friend Crystal Smith, who is. Smith's two boys are fourth-generation members of the church, and she said she hopes events like this one can help the church continue to grow and be there for future generations of Smiths and others.

As for McCracken, she said her kids are now converts — at least to sledding.

"It's a long drive, but it was so worth it," she said. "This has been so much fun. The snow was awesome."