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Celebration UMC Plants Seeds of Faith at Brandon’s Big Celebration

“We believe God has called us to the mission of reaching people who aren’t connected to Christ or to a church home, connecting to God and one another, and growing in our faith through serving,” says Pastor Addy Kenkel serving Celebration United Methodist Church in Brandon.

Macs Carnival And Attractions

Celebration UMC was looking for ministry opportunities in and for their community. The congregation wanted to connect and interact with people in Brandon who were not a part of the church. Brandon’s Big Celebration was the result of much prayer and dreaming. The idea to host a carnival in Brandon surfaced because Pastor Josh Willprecht’s family owns a full carnival that travels around. This unconventional church sponsored event was the perfect avenue to reach people from all backgrounds, many who are unchurched.

For the second year in a row, Celebration UMC partnered with Mac’s Carnival and Attractions to bring a weekend of fun to the Brandon area. Last year, more than 2,000 people attended the event. Celebration UMC handed out free water bottles as an opportunity to spark conversation.

This year, over 3,700 people came to Brandon's Big Celebration on Memorial Day weekend. It was a three-day event held at McHardy Park with carnival rides, food trucks, Christian music, and a place to connect. They were also able to add live music by inviting the Christian band, Boiling Point, to play this year with the help of a Breakthrough Ministry Grant. Celebration UMC’s worship band, Living Springs Church Band, and Elizabeth Anna also played during the celebration.

Carnival 2023 Picture 2

There were many opportunities for the seeds of the Gospel to be planted throughout the weekend. On Sunday morning, Celebration UMC held their worship service at the park right before the carnival opened for the day. Members of the congregation volunteered throughout the event. Some shuttled people from the parking lot to the event on golf carts while others manned the Celebration UMC booth and prayer station. This provided many opportunities to meet people and converse, share about Celebration UMC, and build relationships within the community. They also collected supplies for Brandon Food Pantry in exchange for $3 off the price of a carnival wristband.

"The whole idea behind it is to make relationships with people. So, if they ever want to come to church, they have interacted with that Celebration Church and may want to check that out. Or, if not, at least they heard something about Jesus over the weekend," said Pastor Addy.

Brandon Celebration UMC received a Breakthrough Ministry Grant that provided financial support to host live music throughout the event. “Thank you for your support of Celebration UMC and Brandon’s Big Celebration. With your help, the carnival was a success and we had many happy visitors over the Memorial Day weekend. We will continue to see the positive effects of Brandon’s Big Celebration throughout the year and we have you and your generosity to thank for that.”


Dakotas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church 605.996.6552 1331 University Ave. Mitchell SD 57301-0460 US 43.69689310 -98.03291320 122 W. Franklin Avenue Ste 400 Minneapolis MN 55404 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 W University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000