Chili cookoff, dessert auction set for April 6


FORTVILLE — Ella Coy remembers worshiping with thousands of other youth at a 2019 conference in Phoenix. Surrounded by young Christians from other states, and in some cases other countries, she thought the moment must be a taste of what Heaven is like.

She remembers that night’s speaker driving home the point that “no matter how young we are, we still can have an impact and make a difference,” she said.

Now in college, Ella is among many at Fortville Church of the Nazarene who want to invest in the next group of students and make sure they too have opportunities to attend conferences, camps, mission trips and outings.

An annual chili supper and dessert auction at the church is marking 20 years of raising money to help youth of the church have these opportunities — and the fundraiser itself has grown so popular it’s outgrown the church and moved to Mt. Vernon High School.

This year’s event is set for 5 p.m. April 6 at MVHS. Community members can compete in a chili cookoff, with the cook of the chili garnering the most votes winning a cash prize.

A silent auction will feature tools, grills, patio furniture, toys, games and other items.

The event was smaller when it began in 2004. The chili winner received a $25 gift card to Chili’s. The teens raised money by offering jobs they could do, such as babysitting or yard work.

Yet over the years it’s grown, with more items donated by local businesses and dessert auction bidders coming prepared to pay top dollar. Last year’s event raised more than $11,000, which paid for eight teenagers to travel to Tampa Bay for a Nazarene youth conference.

“Our church just absolutely loves this event,” said youth director Dana Coy. “They come planning to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars.”

Jennifer Dupree remembers the sourdough bread and dry noodles her grandmother used to make and donate to the event to draw bids. There are items people remember and have come back for through the years — such as the “Mamie pies” made by a celebrated church baker, Mamie Fish. Sometimes an eight-person table will pool resources to slice into a chocolate, butterscotch or coconut cream version.

“We have people from all over Fortville and towns surrounding us who come to bid and have a chance at ewinning one of these pies,” Ella said. “It’s something everyone looks forward to every year.”

This year the youth are looking forward to a mission trip in July, when they’ll help build a church building in Panama. And younger youth, Ella said, are already eagerly anticipating the next Nazarene Youth Conference in 2026.

Dana said it’s often on these excursions when bonds deepen and people really get to know each other — times when people order a pizza after an evening conference session and linger over conversation. These are times, she said, when youth open up and leaders learn more about how they can be praying for them.

Dupree said conferences are also times when youth open up to God about their futures. She thinks of how several past youth are now adults who are church leaders.

“They were answering a call to ministry,” she said. “And it began way back then.”


FORTVILLE — A chili cookoff and silent auction will raise money for church youth camps and convention trips.

It’s set for 5 p.m. April 6 at Mt. Vernon High School’s cafeteria.

It benefits youth of Fortville Church of the Nazarene and Fishers Point Community Church of the Nazarene, who have a combined youth group.

Enter the cookoff or learn more at the Facebook page “FCN & Fishers Point Youth Fundraiser” or by calling 317-260-1353.