by Lisa Tome
Charlie Kelso, a Sunday School teacher and board member at Rising Sun Church of the Nazarene, had a busy weekend.
Kelso cooked 140 chicken breasts at his house on Thursday. Then by Friday night had turned them into chicken parmesan. On Sunday, he preached the church service.
Kelso, the main chef, and a group of male volunteers, helped fellow board member Lisa England revive an old tradition. Back in the 1980s and 90s, the church regularly held an event during Mother's Day season to honor the church women.
This year, the event was brought back and renamed the Women of Faith Dinner. Women were invited to bring along another woman - someone who has influenced their faith or whose faith they want to influence.
Kelso signed on when he thought there would be 60 or fewer guests in attendance. When the number of attendees doubled, he persevered.
"We have chicken parmesan with fettucine, candied carrots, green beans, and strawberry shortcakes," said Kelso.
He cooked up 22 pounds of pasta, 25 pounds of carrots and beans, and opened 10 number 10 cans of pasta sauce, which he doctored to make it his own.
He said the women of the church were worth the effort. "I do 75 percent of the cooking at home because I like to cook. Not that my wife is a bad cook. This is a challenge though," said Kelso, who also has two daughters and a newborn granddaughter.
"The women do a lot for our church. They do most of the cooking all the time," said Kelso, who explained that the women from the church prepare meals for as many as three funerals per week. Despite his quest for the men to serve the women, he said the church ladies still offered to help.
"I said 'if you're bringing stuff, don't come'," laughed Kelso.
"We may make this annual. It hasn't really been that bad. You just have to have a plan."
Other men and teen boys helped with the effort. Michael Heaps, Skip Yust, and Anthony Hayden, set the tables.
"The women have always been there for us men. My mom took care of me. Now it's time for us to take care of them," he said.
"We need women. I get along with women. They are our moral support. Behind every man is a better woman," said Skip Yust.
"They honor us. It's good for us to return the favor. They honor us day in and day out," said Hayden.
Mason Watters, 12, had a big job during the dinner. Watters was serving as the DJ, providing music. "Women do a lot. It's good for them to have a break sometimes," said Watters.