0517SingingAUDGrammy-nominated artist Karen Peck talks about singing for friends in Georgia.
Taking a trip halfway around the world to Bangladesh to pass out Bibles is just one mission that is born from the annual gospel singing in Carnesville.
And for the eighth year, Indian Creek Baptist Church will welcome folks from all over the South to its Memorial Day Weekend Gospel Singing.
"Our whole idea here was to provide the community with a great night of Southern gospel music," said the Rev. Bill Stacey. "There will be some preaching ... and we do take up a love offering."
The singing is free but the profits from "the best concession stand in Georgia" go straight to the missions program.
"This is not a profit-making venture here, but we do have a concession stand," Stacey said. "Any money that is made in a profit we do take (for) mission trips."
Stacey, his wife and church members have been to El Salvador, Bolivia, Jamaica, the Ukraine and Bangladesh in the past few years to minister.
"We've been able to cover some territory with the money that is raised from this," Stacey said. "Later on in the fall we will either go back to Bangladesh or possibly Myanmar, where they had the cyclone."
On these mission trips to Bangladesh, Stacey was amazed how the people received them.
"We generally just drive down the street just passing out the Bibles ... we go back and make one-on-one contact with these people and share the gospel with them," he said.
Helping Stacey share the gospel in other parts of the world is oddly linked to fried apple pies in Georgia.
The fried apple and peach pies are one of the hottest sellers at the church's concession stand.
"We use dried apples and dried peaches and we usually go up to Jaemor (Farms) and get those and we cook them up," said Julia Partain, church member and volunteer with the concession stand. "We use canned biscuits and roll it out and we usually make around 1,400 pies."
Partain said the group of about 25 volunteers started last week on the pies.
"We've got a process we have developed over the years and we have our system down pretty well," she said. "We try to make all of our pies uniform ... and when we get them made up, we put them on cookie sheets and freeze them and then we take them out and box them up. We keep them frozen until the singing starts."
According to Stacey the concessions include fried apple and peach pies, hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue sandwiches, pinto beans and corn bread, french fries, chili cheese fries, nachos and fresh-squeezed lemonade.
While hundreds flock to the pies, there will also be plenty of gospel music to enjoy.
On Thursday, Karen Peck will be honored for her many years in the gospel music ministry. She will perform with New River and the Roy Knight Singers, Mountain Faith, Partons, Hyssong Family and John Darin Rowsey.
"I am just so honored that Leslie Chastain is honoring me for 28 years in full-time ministry," said Peck, a Dahlonega resident.
Chastian has been the talent coordinator for the singing and part of gospel music locally for years.
Peck added, "We'll be doing songs off our latest album and we currently have a No. 1 song in the nation, so we're excited about that, it's called ‘Hey.' This has just been a great year for us."
Karen Peck & New River were among nominees for the Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album during this year's Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.
The three-day festival allows RV camping. There is a 1,500 seat tent for the festivities and folks also are welcome to bring their own lawn chairs.