Parishioners share sweet treat at St. Peter’s Lynnville
“We’ve had them for a long time,” said Pastor Rebekah Thomas, about the ice cream socials at St. Peter’s Church.
Twenty, 25, 30 years, no one was sure how long they had been a tradition but they agreed “at least 25 years.”
Everyone said the ice cream socials began with meetings at George and Ruth Weida’s home.
Ruth was in an iron lung and this was a way she could participate, Luella Kistler said.
There was ice on George’s dam and they cut the ice to make the ice cream.
Once, said Larry Hoffman, the Rev. Bruce Potteiger fell in the water while bringing ice to shore.
Harold Handwerk said no one knew when the social was moved to the church.
For the children’s sermon, Pastor Thomas asked what was special about the day. All the youngsters, however, were focused on the ice cream.
The answer she was looking for was the Transfiguration when Jesus took three disciples up on a mountain where His clothes turned a brilliant white and His face was like the sun.
Jim Bachman watched the ice cream freezers, each donated for the day by a different family. Bachman said every time he sees one at auction he bids on it.
The lid had broken on the one he had at the church but he bought a new lid at auction for only a dollar.
“They all wear out,” he said.
A 10-percent solution of salt and ice will melt at 20 degrees whereas plain ice melts at 32 degrees, so one thing Bachman was doing was pushing the ice/salt mix to the bottom of the freezers.
Bachman said Karin Bowman, whom he terms the ice cream chef, makes the mixes to go into the freezer. Flavors for the day were vanilla, chocolate and blueberry. In 2004, Bowman introduced new flavors such as chocolate chip, strawberry, blueberry or cherry cheesecake, Rocky Road, banana, praline and apple pie ice creams.
The social is held every year in February around Valentine’s Day to provide fellowship, food and, of course, the ice cream.
The early freezers were hand turned and when the move to the church occurred, the ice cream was made in the outdoor pavilion which was a cold project.
Over the years, during the fellowship period, the Rev. Potteiger and his wife told about a mission trip to an Indian reservation in the southwest.
Once, Jean Weida showed a film made on her farm for the Binney and Smith Crayola plant.
Another year, everyone brought baby pictures and people tried to guess who the babies were.
Bowman said that one year there were teams of two and they tried to see how fast they could eat a dish of ice cream. Her team won but her head became frozen.
The move to holding the social after the church service is recent but again no one is sure when the move was made.
A dish of ice cream is always placed on the gravestone of Stuart Follweiler in celebration of his love of the socials, said Bachman.
Follweiler was known as a frugal man but left an inheritance to help much of the community including at least three churches and organizations such as the Lions.
Someone (or something) always eats Follweiler’s ice cream within a day or two.