This weekend, community members and visitors to the area can get a taste of award-winning barbecue while supporting Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church’s planned Hope Center. The barbecue fundraiser will be held on Saturday, July 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — or until the food runs out — at Doric Lodge #30, A.F. & M., in Millville.
“We’ll be serving pulled-pork sandwiches, sausage and peppers and onions, coleslaw, pickle and chips. Then the kids will be there selling lemonade and baked goods,” said Chad Zook, a past grand master for the lodge for the State of Delaware, as well as a parishioner at Mariner’s Bethel.
Each platter will cost $7 per person, with all proceeds going to the Hope Center.
The fundraiser was born out of Mariner’s Project Multiply, through which each parishioner is given $10 and told to go out and multiply. The idea is based on Matthew 25:14-30, which is known as “the Parable of the Bags of Gold,” or “the Parable of the Talents.”
“Russ Archut, who’s a past master and also goes to Mariner’s, said to me, ‘We’ve got a lot of brothers from the lodge that go to the church. Why don’t we partner with the barbecue team, the member brothers from the lodge that are members of the church — we’ll include our families, and we’ll take and pool all of our money together.’
“There are 30 of us from church that are going to be taking that $300 and, with the help of some donations, we’re going to purchase all the things that we need, cook the food and sell the food. Our goal is to multiply that 10 times and take that back to the church. Our goal is to multiply that by 10. I think we can do it.”
The barbecue will be prepared by the lodge’s barbecue team, comprising Zook, Steven Mills, Billy Wingate and Will DiEfenderfer.
“Our barbecue team has been going down to Raleigh, N.C., for the Carolina Pig Jig, which benefits the Masonic Home for Children, which is an orphanage in North Carolina. We’ve been doing that for eight years and won all kinds of trophies,” said Zook.
Last year, the team, along with their rig, “Charity,” were the competition’s grand champions.
“Just these four guys and this barbecue rig went down there and beat Carolinians in barbecue. This year, we went down and we were third-place overall,” he said. “We also go to the orphanage and cook there, too.”
The award-winning sauce is created by DiEfenderfer. The last two years they’ve won the completion, Zook said, they used wood from Bill Lord at Lord’s Landscaping — also a parishioner at Mariner’s.
The barbecue fundraiser isn’t solely the work of the church’s parishioners and lodge members. Zook thanked Ba Roos Ice Cream & Tropical Treats, Bill Lord, Ron Gray, Gerald Hocker, Martin’s Rolls and Kevin Fisher for their contributions to the fundraiser.
“While it may be lodge brothers and members that are active with the church, this really is a community thing.”
The Hope Center will be a one-story, 13,000-square-foot facility that will serve both the church’s congregation and the community. The facility will include a kitchen where the church will be able to grow its existing food ministry, Feed My Sheep, as well as a gym for use by youth groups within the church and by outside recreational teams. The church also hopes to host after-school enrichment programs for area students.
“This thing is called the Hope Center, and it’s not just for the people that go to our church. This is for the whole community,” said Zook.
According to Zook, Mariner’s anticipates breaking ground on the facility in 2019, and has an overall fundraising goal of $3.2 million for the project. Currently, they have more than $1 million raised, and they hope to raise the remaining $2.2 million by the time they break ground.
“The ultimate goal of the Hope Center is to give people hope. There’s no better way to give people hope than to preach the message of God and his son, Jesus, to him,” said Zook, noting that community is important.
“This Hope Center is going to be a valuable asset to the community. Members of the church who are also members of the lodge have taken this on as a responsibility because of who we are as church members and lodge members.”
Zook said the lodge was built in 1903 and currently has approximately 200 members. He said those who are interested in becoming a Mason must simply ask how to become a brother.
“Some people might not know their friends are Masons,” he said. “You walk through that door, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a senator, whether you are a librarian, whether you wait tables… It doesn’t matter your station in life. When you walk in the door and go through the varying degrees of Masonry and join the lodge — when you walk in there, you’re all the same.”
Supporting the community in which they live is important for the Masons, said Zooks. And he said he hopes the community will attend Saturday’s fundraiser and support them as well.
“It’s important for the brothers of the lodge to practice one of our most valued tenants — brotherly love — charity extends beyond the grave. Charity is really important. Taking care of your community is really important. It’s our future… All those things are very important to Masons.”
Doric Lodge #30 is located at 69 Atlantic Avenue in Millville. For more information on the Lodge, visit www.masonsindelaware.org/blue/lodges/Doric30.htm. For more information about Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church, visit www.marinersbethel.org.