There was a good turnout on an overcast evening for the Moniteau County Fair Vespers Service Sunday evening, Aug. 6, at the fairgrounds main arena.
Several of those present expressed their appreciation for the cooler weather, rather than the 90-100 degree temperatures common in July. The event was sponsored by the California Ministerial Alliance.
The vespers attendees were welcomed by the Rev. Jeremy Anderson, pastor of First Baptist Church. Rev. Jeremy Barnard, pastor of Lebanon Baptist Church, led the group in singing "Old Rugged Cross" and "Onward Christian Soldiers," accompanied by the California Community Ensemble.
To lead up to the message for the evening, scriptures from the first chapter of Genesis were read by the Rev. Eugene Moll, interim pastor of United Church of Christ; the Rev. Evandro Kopper, pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church; and the Rev. Eugene Moeller, pastor of United Methodist Church.
The Rev. Alan Bailey, the new pastor of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) California, presented the message, "This Is Our God's World," based on Gen. 1:24-31.
Speaking of the history of county fairs, Bailey said they began in Europe in the 1600s. They were major festivals in which farm-raised products were at the center of the event. The first one in the United States was in the 1800s. In 2011, there were about 3,000 county fairs in the country.
He then read the welcome message in the 2017 Moniteau County Fair Book, emphasizing the portion which states: "Tradition is what makes our fair special."
That statement goes on to mention that the opportunities and learning experiences the fair offers are year-round projects. Whether it is raising animals to show, curing hams, making crafts, growing produce or more, by which the "large amount of participation we have that Moniteau County values our fair and the events associated with it."
Bailey mentioned the prayer given at the beginning of a Soil and Water Conservation event at which he gave a presentation. He said in the prayer, not only did they give thanks for the food and the bountiful blessings, but recognized their role as stewards of the earth.
There has always been a connection between earth and humans, past the beginning of the first humans being made from the clay soil and having the spirit of life breathed into them.
According to Bailey, that connection is still strong, as he remembered playing in the dirt.
"If it was mud, it was almost magical," he said.
He talked about all of the things a child can do with mud — make things, build landscapes for Tonka trucks and bulldozers, and build battlegrounds for the little green soldiers.
For adults who have sought to seek vocations from earth, he said they should be "strong, conserve, appreciate and preserve the earth."
Turning to Psalm 24:1-2, Bailey closed with, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters."
An offering was taken up following a prayer by California Ministerial Alliance President Casey Malley, youth pastor at First Baptist Church. A benediction was presented by the Rev. Frank Hensley, pastor of New Life Christian Center.