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The iconic event was established in 1946 in Powell Butte, but due to COVID, the decision was made to cancel for safety reasons

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - One of the main draws during the Lord's Acre Day is its pies, which are sold by the slice and whole throughout the morning.

The fallout of COVID on events that involve large gatherings has become a sad reality around the country.

The most recent casualty is the cancellation of the annual Lord's Acre Sale in Powell Butte. The decision to cancel is the first time, since 1946, (when the event was first founded) that the event has not been held.

Trey Hinkle is the current lead pastor of Powell Butte Community Church and has been part of the church for approximately eight years. Upon reflecting on the decision to cancel this year's annual Lord's Acre Sale, he noted the reaction of the board, even though it was unanimous to cancel the event.

"It was a Zoom meeting, and I just watched as people had to go through the grieving process, 'We're not going to do this this year,' it was the right thing to do, but it sure affected people," he said.

He said that their board consists of a group of approximately 12-18 deacons and deaconesses who attend the board meetings. He emphasized that they all unanimously decided it was the right decision.

"If everyone else was taking precautions—especially with large gatherings, even outdoor gatherings, but especially indoor gatherings—we knew it would not have been a good testimony to the community if we went ahead and did this," Hinkle added.

It was also decided that it would be best to put the event off completely until next year.

The annual Lord's Acre Sale began in 1946 to help finance and build the Powell Butte Community Church's first sanctuary. The pastor at that time, DeVere (D.L.) Penhollow (1907 - 1986), encouraged his small congregation, as well as others in the close-knit farming community, to donate the produce from one acre of their land to be sold to the general public.

D.L. Penhollow remained in Redmond while serving the church. He retired in 1986. He was also a county commissioner and county judge in Deschutes County for several years.

In the late 1940s, the church was outgrowing the facility. One of the congregation members found an article from a church in the Carolinas, where they had instituted a project in local and remote areas called "Lord's Acre."

The project involved community members dedicating or donating an acre of produce or an acre's production of animals toward the Lord's Acre sale. There was also a tradition where beef had been cooked in the ground in a pit. That part of the Powell Butte Lord's Acre Sale began in the fall of 1947.

With the monies from the Lord's Acre Sale, the church also bought pews and in later years, a significant portion was put toward mission work and Bible College scholarships for those going into the ministry. The remainder is used for large improvements such as roofs, flooring and the purchase of the parsonage. They have also used funds for vans and buses for the church.

The sale has traditionally been held the first Saturday of November.

"The money that was raised went to build the church," commented Hinkle. "Once the church was built, they decided to continue to do this on a yearly basis during harvest time to be thankful that God had provided for them one more year. They would use the monies to do upkeep of the facilities."

The event has expanded over the years to include an auction of quilts and similar handmade items, a concert, pie-by-the-slice and meat sales, a country market, and a 5K and 10K run/walk. Also included in the festive event is a breakfast on Saturday mornings and a pit barbeque.

Notable past attendees include Oregon's Governor Mark Hatfield, and U.S. Senators Wayne Morse, Hubert Humphreys, and John F. Kennedy.

Upon reflecting on a photo of John F. and Jackie Kennedy holding up a quilt that they won in the auction at the Lord's Acre Sale in 1959, Hinkle explained the relevance of the quilt in the photo.

"The story goes, when Jackie passed away, as they went through her estate, she still had that quilt," he noted.

Today, more than $50,000 is raised annually from nearly 2,500 attendees to support missions and scholarships.

Hinkle concluded that members of the Powell Butte community can save up their donations for next year to hold an exceptional Lord's Acre Sale for 2021.


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