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Cookie Day is a tradition that dates back to the couple’s arrival in LeRoy 13 years ago. The event is now a massive undertaking, with Julie single-handedly baking 2,400 cookies each year.
“That first year, it was just the people in our church that came,” she says. “Every year it grows and we invite more people.” Residents, some who didn’t know the church existed, find their way to the fellowship hall in December to taste Julie’s concoctions. One of the crowd’s favorite baked cookies is also one of the simplest. Oreo bonbons are crushed Oreo cookies mixed with cream cheese and white chocolate.
Patterson admires how the day encourages people to fellowship with one another.
“It’s people stopping during the busy part of the year, and they come in as a family and sit down and take time to visit with each other,” she says. Patterson also appreciates the joy that it brings.
“One of my favorite mottos is, Be the reason somebody smiles, and that’s what Cookie Day is,” she says.
The day after Cookie Day, LeRoy AG will partner with the only other congregation in town to provide a meal for all comers at a community Christmas dinner. The funds for this meal come from offerings given at community services the churches hold jointly. Julie’s cookies are served for dessert.
Charlie and Julie Patterson are both bivocational, working at LeRoy Cooperative Association, the local agricultural supply store, itself a hub of the rural town. Through their daily connections, as well as these annual events, the Pattersons reach those who may never set foot in church.
“One of the things that God had blessed us with is not only being able to pastor the people in the church, but in the whole community,” Charlie Patterson says. “We constantly get people who don’t go to any church, but when they have spiritual needs they come to Julie or me and ask us to pray for them or their family.”
Cookie Day for 2018 will be Dec. 20.