BENNINGTON -- The Green Mountain Christian Center, 440 Main St., is holding its second annual pig roast tonight, Saturday, July 12, at 5 p.m. to reach out and give out a free meal to anyone in the Bennington community.
Pastor assistant and youth pastor David Hickey will be slow roasting two 150-pound swine in front of the Assembly of God for 10 hours prior to dinner, which will be portioned out for up to 500 people on two serving lines.
With the help of its congregation members, the church pitched two large tents in the park next to the church to seat as many people as it can. The church's gospel choir will be performing at 6:30, and dinner will be plated by church members for as long as the pigs last.
"I used to do pig roasts when I was a pastor down in Petersburgh, New York. I've been roasting pigs for about 18 years now," Hickey said.
The church received donations for the pig roast last year, though donations are unnecessary. The pastors and the church members host community events both to try and attract new members and to get to know other members of the community.
"We had such a great response last year, which actually took us by surprise," Pastor John Goyette said. "The line was out and around the block: They wiped us out."
Before moving downtown because of a structure fire caused by lightning in 2007, the church hosted pig roasts at its Harwood Hill Road sanctuary.
The church also puts on a food ministry once a week and holds other free community events.
"We're a pretty active church. At Christmas time, we give away gifts to about 500 children And every year at MayFest we give away groceries, popcorn and put on puppet shows. We feel as Christians that we just want to reach out with the love of God and the message of salvation."
The pastors said events like the pig roast are rewarding because it allows members of the church to connect with other minds.
"We have a lot of young people that hang out on our front steps and the park," Goyette said. "There was kind of a different attitude about that before we came in. We've endeavored to connect with those young people and to become a part of the fabric of downtown."
The church is welcoming anyone to go to the roast for a free plate of food. The first ever Bennington Bike Night will take place from 5 to 9 p.m., taking up half of School Street. Goyette said everyone visiting downtown for the bike show would be welcome to come to the pig roast, making it the center of the evening's events.
Sunday morning, the pastors will hold church service under the tents at 9:30 a.m. with visitors from the Valley Forge Christian College of Pennsylvania to perform gospel music.
Find the Green Mountain Christian Center on Facebook or online at www.greenmtn.org.
Contact Tom Momberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TomMomberg.