Oak Grove United Methodist Church
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
Saturday, July 30, 2016, from 4:00-7:00 pm 
Each year, usually on the last Saturday in July, everyone who attends our church plus friends, relatives, and all residents of the Oak Grove community are invited to be our guests at a picnic featuring free food, entertainment and games for all ages!
In 2011 we revived the lapsed tradition of holding an annual picnic on our church grounds. Invitations were issued — to all of our members plus friends and relatives, and as many members of the Oak Grove community as we could find ways to reach — to join us on August 20th to celebrate our church's 105th birthday and the designation that year of our magnificent Oregon White Oak tree as a Clackamas County Heritage Tree. 
Our picnic committee's goal was to provide "something for everyone". We offered carnival-type games (with prizes!), and a crafts table, for kids of all ages. Chef Dave and his team provided delicious brats and hot dogs, with buns and condiments, baked beans, homemade cookies and ice cream … plus lots of cold water and lemonade on what turned out to be a 96-degree day! However, there was a nice breeze and we had set up several canopies to add to the shade provided by our wonderful oak tree.
We had invited the Fire Department, and several firemen showed up in shiny red fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. They enjoyed the food, chatted with attendees, and showed off their vehicles to interested children and adults. Some of them also participated in our water balloon "toss" — which quickly escalated into a full-scale battle, but on such a hot day none of the participants seemed to mind getting wet! 
Attendance at that 2011 picnic was around 100, including perhaps 30 members of the community who don't attend our church. We were delighted to have the opportunity to get to know a few of our neighbors better. 

In 2012 we switched the picnic date to late July, hoping for somewhat cooler weather, which has worked fairly well so far. (In 2015 it rained on picnic day, but we were able to shift everything indoors … except the water balloon toss!) Over the years we've expanded the menu a bit to include salad and ice cream, and added more activities — including face-painting and temporary tattoos, which have been really popular! 
Attendance has more or less doubled since 2011, including more members of the community each year. In addition to Fire Department representatives (who have shown up every year so far) we've also been visited by Sheriff's deputies. A four-legged K-9 "officer" was a big hit with attendees at our 2015 and 2016 picnics! 
We hope our picnic will continue to get bigger and better each year, and that even more of our Oak Grove neighbors will attend!