The themes of running and training for a race are often used as a metaphor for the Christian life in the Bible. So a 5k run is a great way to kick off the start of the Sunday School year, according to the Rev. Dave Grindberg.
St. Olaf Lutheran Church will have a 5k run-bike-walk-cheer event and block party beginning at 9 a.m. Sept. 9. An outdoor worship service will follow at 10:15 a.m. and a free picnic lunch at 11 a.m.
"This is part of what we call 'Rally Sunday,'" Grindberg said. "Rally Sunday is the kickoff to our school year and we always do something special, but this is going to be way outside the box."
-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
The Rev. Dave Grindberg runs by St. Olaf Lutheran Church. Grindberg's church will have a 5k run-walk-bike and block party on Sept. 9 at the start of the new Sunday School year.
He said the "cheer" part of that description was to emphasize that anyone is welcome.
"We hope to have something for everyone. If you can't run it maybe you can walk; if you can't walk it maybe you can bike. If you can't bike it, maybe you just stay on the block and cheer us on as we come in."
Grindberg said the street in front of the church will be blocked off to make space for the party. Since that will cut into the normal parking space, he said there will be golf carts running a route along the surrounding neighborhood streets and towards downtown to bring people from their cars to the church.
People should bring lawn chairs so they can sit down if they want during the worship service, he said.
Grindberg explained how he got the idea.
"I'm a runner. I noticed first of all that there are number of places in scripture you find allusions to running and running being a metaphor for life. So that's attractive to me," he said.
When he runs other 5ks, Grindberg meets up with a lot of his parishioners. It's also a good way to meet new people.
"It's sort of a common bond. It's a good way to connect," he said.
Education Director Anna Miller is helping arrange the block party. She said the church has some kind of entertainment at the start of every year, as Sunday School and confirmation start up again.
"We'll have a short run, I believe it's a 100-yard dash for the kids," she said. "We'll have the bouncy thing, a basketball hoop, some sidewalk chalk, face painting, just fun things for kids to do."
Adults can shoot hoops and even get their faces painted if they want, she said, after all, St. Olaf has education for adults as well as kids.
The block party is something new for the church.
"We've had various forms of entertainment, like magicians, balloon people," Miller said. "We're always trying to do something different."
In case of rain, the festivities will be moved indoors.
Shirts for the run will be sold for $5, and can be customized at the block party.
"We're going to have a color station. If you want paint on the shirts, you can get paint," Grindberg said. "It can be splattered, or if you want a cross painted on back of the shirt they can do that - whatever it happens to be."
Preregistration is helpful, but not required, he said. To register, or for more information, visit www.StOlafFD.com.