The practice started last year and it went over so well, the church is planning to make it an annual event.
"I'm not sure how many people came out, but it was successful. We got lots of people out from the community," said Heather Dyck, one of the planners for this year's community family fun day, to be held on Sept. 6 at the church, located at 755 St. Anne's Road.
"We just want to let people know we're there and we're nice, fun people, and to give our church a presence in the community. It's just a time for families to come out and have fun with us."
This year's festivities run from noon till 6 p.m. Everyone is invited and all the activities are free, including the barbecue at 5 p.m. and puppet shows, a petting zoo, inflated bouncing structures, a dunk tank, a radar pitching cage, skateboard demonstrations and live music throughout the afternoon. Local musicians will play some easy listening material, and a punk-style band will entertain the younger crowd near the skateboarding area.
With a regular Sunday congregation of about 150, the Morrow Gospel Church is one of the smaller ones in the Evangelical Mennonite Mission Conference, said church secretary Martha Friesen. But it is extremely busy just about every day of the week.
In fall, winter and spring, the church runs two different youth groups that meet during the week for fun and games, crafts and Bible study. It also offers a college and career-age group through the summer.
The Morrow Gospel Church also sponsors Girl Guides and Sparks groups, and as a result of last year's barbecue, it now hosts two support groups for area moms: The St. Vital Y-Neighbours and the Dakota Y-Neighbours.
The church is also the base for an area seniors' group that has spawned its own choir, and last week, it was a beehive of activity at the annual Vacation Bible School.
For those people who work evening shifts or simply want to spend a little extra time in Bible study, there's a Thursday afternoon study group. The church has a co-ordinator whose job is to keep track of several Bible home-study groups, each of which studies a different aspect of the Bible or takes a different approach to the study. Anyone wishing to join a group is welcome.
"Our library is a very busy place," added Friesen. "We have an excellent stock of books."
Sunday services begin at 10:30 a.m. in the summer. The schedule switches to winter hours starting Sept. 14, with Sunday school from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and the regular worship service at 10:45.
For more information on the community family fun day, call the church at 257-2500.
PHOTO LINDA VERMETTE/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS