In 2002, with the advent of the deanery system in the Diocese of the Eastern United States, the Rev. Mark Clavier, rector of All Saints Church, Mills River, North Carolina and dean of the Appalachian Deanery asked Mr. Thad Osborne to establish and coordinate an annual deanery picnic for the four area churches. The deanery encompassed two churches in western North Carolina, one in eastern Tennessee, and one in upstate South Carolina. The picnic operated at multiple venues and quickly became a popular event for fellowship and good times among the traditional Anglicans in the area. In 2008, St. Timothy’s Church, Swannanoa, North Carolina, built a picnic shelter and the annual picnic was moved there permanently. Unfortunately St. Timothy’s Church closed in 2018 due to declining membership and the picnic had to find a new home. In 2018, it was held at the Old Brick Church in Leicester, North Carolina.

This year on August 24, 2019, the picnic was held at the Mills River Town Complex. Seventy-five people attended on a very brisk, rainy day. Members of the following churches were in attendance: Holy Cross Church, Knoxville, Tennessee; St. Peter the Apostle Church, Kingsport, Tennessee; Church of St. George the Martyr, Simpsonville, South Carolina; St. Matthew’s Church, Weaverville, North Carolina; St. Patrick’s Church, Brevard, North Carolina; St. Michael & All Angels Church, Arden, North Carolina; and All Saints Church, Mills River.

Mr. Osborne, who is now Deacon Osborne, has continued to coordinate this yearly event. It is his dedication that keeps this picnic at the forefront of the lives of all the members of the churches in the Appalachian Deanery.

The photos below are courtesy of St. Patrick’s Church and All Saints Church.