Orchard's Blog: Stories, News & Events

Orchard Hill Family Camping Trip


An affordable and fun family vacation and an opportunity to belong in community was the goal of the trip. With that idea in mind, the Orchard Hill North: Family Camping Trip was planned.

From July 9 through the 14th, around 120 people enjoyed a week at Baker State Park in Minnesota. Baker Park campground is situated on beautiful Lake Independence. “Our group took up half of one loop at Baker Park,” commented Karla Chestnut, trip organizer. “All age ages were represented, from retired couples in their 70’s to young families. We had 14 kids under 4 on the trip as well as a group of teenagers.”

Curt and Brenda Patterson prepared and provided all of the meals using Orchard Hill’s Chuchwagon. With the help of families, they cooked a hot breakfast and supper and everyone packed sack lunches after breakfast.

After breakfast the kids played while the adults participated in small group time. Then families had free time until supper. Many swam, fished, kayaked, or took a day trip into Minneapolis to visit the zoo or the mall. After dinner there was kid-friendly worship and a night session followed by a campfire, cards and conversation.

The theme of the week was B.L.E.S.S., a way of being with people. B is for  Begin with Prayer. L is for Listening with care, E is for eating together, S is for serving humbly with love, when you listen to people and you eat with them, they teach you how to love them and you will know how to serve them. The final S is for share your story.  When you live the B.L.E.S.S. way you will hear people’s stories and you will be able to share your story, including how you have encountered Jesus along the way.  “Many people connected with this as we had a chance to share many meals together,” continued Karla.

“We had such a great week! Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen!” Jamie Recker shared via Facebook. Melissia Johnson echoed, “Had such a fantastic week with all of you.”

The next family camping trip is being planned for the summer of 2019. Stay tuned for details or contact Karla Chestnut at kchestnut@orchardhillchurch.org.

Grundy County Landscaping


The building was complete and the exterior paint was drying, but the site of the new worship center in Grundy County still needed some curb appeal. On Wednesday, May 31 and Saturday, June 3, volunteers spent hours preparing the soil, laying down sod, planting plants, and putting in landscaping rock. The result was the finishing touch the new building needed.

“We had a great group of volunteers!” shared Mark Kuiper, a landscape architect who led the project. “So many people came and went, all with different backgrounds and skill sets. Everyone just jumped in wherever the work needed to be done.”

Over twenty signed up to help with this project, but several more just showed up to work. “The weather these days was very hot and humid and the staff had to continually remind all the volunteers to drink water because everyone was actively working hard,” continued Mark.

Many people went above and beyond to help with the project:

  • A volunteer gave us the use of a skid loader to install 55 tons of landscape rock
  • Volunteers installed 3500 square feet of weed barrier fabric, 300 feet of steel lawn edging, and 8200 square feet of sod\
  • Others coordinated plant donations, caring for them until planted
  • A local contractor gave landscape materials for cost and donated equipment to help install steel edging and the use of a tractor to prepare the soil and spray weeds
  • Many have donated time to water the sod and plants in the weeks following

The day ended with an attempt to water 8200 square feet of sod in the hot sun. “We were reaching a crisis point trying to water from the church hose connections, but one volunteer saved the day by bringing a semi with huge water tanks to prevent any of it from dying.” said Mark.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this a beautiful and welcoming outdoor space!

Cedar Falls

3900 Orchard Hill Drive, Cedar Falls
319.266.9796 | email

Grundy County

1800 G Ave., Grundy Center
319.266.9411 | email

Lincoln Center

18891 Q Ave., Grundy Center
319.266.9411 | email


501 Heritage Way, Waverly
319.266.9796 | email