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Drive-thru pancakes

St. Marks will serve up flapjacks for Shrove Tuesday

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson The Rev. Kristine Leaman, of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, poses with a pair of spatulas inside the church. The church is hosting a drive-thru pancake supper for Shrove Tuesday. It’s the first fundraiser the church has had since about a year ago before the pandemic.

Pancakes, butter and syrup have always been part of the Shrove Tuesday tradition for the Episcopal Church, according to the Rev. Kistine Leaman.

Shrove Tuesday is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

“It is a tradition in the Episcopal Church to have Shrove Tuesday — shriven means to be forgiven,” said Leaman, priest in charge at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1007 First Ave. S. “The tradition in England, in preparation for Lent and fasting, not only did they fast from meat, they fasted from all animal products. They would get rid of butter, milk, meat. So they would clean their larder and make pancakes.”

The church will again serve pancakes this year — only it will be set up as a drive-thru.

“This year we were a bit on the fence on what to do and Mary Kay Daniel and Joanne Kramer were really urging us to do it this year — safely,” Leaman said. “So they decided let’s do a drive-thru.”

The event will be held on Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dinners will be $7. Each meal will include pancakes, sausage, syrup, butter and juice.

“In years past its been all you can eat, but this year we can’t do that because it’s drive-thru,” Leaman said.

Still, it’s a chance to hold a fundraiser, which is something that’s been hard to come by for the church throughout the pandemic.

“This is the first fundraiser we have had in a year,” said Leaman.

In 2020, 160 meals were sold during the Shrove Tuesday supper. That was prior to the pandemic.

After serving as a psychiatric nurse for many years, Leaman pursued a career in religion after her retirement as a nurse. She’s been ordained for almost six years.

She’s been at St. Mark’s since December 2018. She was called to the church as priest in charge in August of 2019.

“I must have missed pandemic day at seminary because no one would have guessed,” Leaman said, reflecting on the past year. “The first six months (prior to the pandemic) were great. Since then has been a challenge for everybody, no matter who you are. We forced our way out of the dark ages and got on Zoom and got on Facebook Live.”

Leaman said virtual programs are likely to stick around for some time, even once the pandemic settles down.

“Our diocese has decided that this will be something that the churches in Iowa will be doing going forward, which is the right thing to do,” Leaman said. “We are reaching people.”

St. Mark’s did host one drive-thru communion in recent months.

Deciding when to reopen the church for services has been difficult.

“The diocese has a task force which I’m a part of that has looked at regathering or reopening,” Leaman said. “A lot of denominations have opened and we have been on the receiving end of why don’t you? Our demographic is older and those people are the most vulnerable, so we have been erred on the side of safety and I fully agree with that and endorse that.”

She is, however, hopeful that the church can reconsider in the coming weeks.

“It looked like Webster County is moving toward where we can think about the Episcopal Church maybe opening,” she said. “It looks like we are heading that direction, so we will see in the coming weeks if that stabilizes. And as people get their shots.”

The Fort Dodge church has about 70 members. Between six and 10 volunteers will help with the pancake supper.

“We have a lot of talented people who can flap those jacks,” Leaman said.

The church board is still deciding where the proceeds from the event will go. In years past, the church has donated to places like the Lord’s Cupboard and the Lotus Community Project.

If you go:

What: Pancake drive-thru dinner

Where: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1007 First Ave. S.

When: Tuesday

Time: from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Cost: $7

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