Local ministry fundraiser weekend


Huntington’s First United Methodist Church hosted their annual Valentine’s Day Dinner and Show fundraiser this weekend. The shows began Thursday, Feb. 16 and lasted until Saturday, Feb. 18.

This year’s show was “A Bitsy and Boots Murder Mystery” and was written by local playwright Johnathan Joy and directed by Jerry Morse. The “Bitsy and Boots” plays are an ongoing series of productions that the church has produced, with seven plays over the past 10 years.

“Its good, clean humor,” Joy said. “Its relatable characters and fun, funny, awkward situations people can relate to.”

The seventh “Bitsy and Boots” play involved the characters trying to solve the mystery of who murdered their “demanding and meddling cousin” Ida, as described in the program. The show tied in many references to the previous productions, along with current pop culture references.

Lisa Lyan, whose mother played the town gossip, Bertie Lou, said she thought the play was hilarious.

“They just get better and better,” Lyan said about the three “Bitsy and Boots” plays she has seen. “I think it’s amazing that local authors can perform and put on local plays in the area. I think it makes it a much richer area for us to be in.”

The fundraising program originally started as a New Year’s Eve fundraiser as part of First Night, a service that many Huntington churches participated in, but once that program ended First United decided to fundraise around Valentine’s Day.

Steve Hensley, the associate pastor at the church, said the dinner theatre productions are one of the church’s biggest fundraisers, with the money made each night going to multiple local, national and international missions. The majority of the money helps the West Virginia Conference’s mission projects, an organization that is responsible for doing mission work all over the state.

The money also goes to the church’s Nicaraguan work team that travels there every Christmas to do mission work, UMS which is the Methodist denomination’s ministry on Marshall’s campus and many more organizations.

Hensley also said that many fraternity and sorority students volunteer with the dinner theatre to earn community service hours.

Karenann Flouhouse can be contacted at [email protected]