Families packed into the sanctuary Sunday at Central United Methodist Church in Lenoir City since church leaders were determined the annual “Putt Putt Palm Sunday” would go on.

Putt putt activities were moved into the sanctuary along with face painting, egg decorating and food, while an Easter egg hunt was still held on the front lawn.

The event provides the church a chance to connect with families in the community in a positive way, the Rev. Scott Layer, pastor, said.

“Central is committed to being a place where children and families can grow with God and grow as families,” he said. “Part of growing means having fun together. Putt Putt Palm Sunday provides a free family fun event for families in the local area. We were grateful that the weather cooperated and we had a great turnout.”

Church member Tammie Jay attended with her 10-year-old son, Caden. As they made their way through the putt putt course, Tammie noted the event as a positive for the church.

“It’s a very good outreach program,” she said. “We usually always have a really good turnout. Unfortunately, today we had to bring it inside because the chance of storms was like 80 percent today, although it’s been a gorgeous day outside. … I mean we’ve been going here for a very long time and we used to just do Easter egg hunts, but I think this gives something different to do, something that others aren’t doing.”

About 100 church members volunteer to put everything together, Logan Frizzell, children’s ministry director, said.

About eight members plan the event, with others helping with set up and tear down, running the registration table, preparing food, organizing the egg hunt or helping run activities like face painting.

“Part of it is to provide that fun for families, but part of it is to be able to connect with others,” Frizzell said. “Not everyone is comfortable going into a church, especially on a Sunday morning. That’s a lot of pressure. To come to just do a putt putt event, that’s not big deal. So that’s the other part of it, so that people can see that a church can have fun, that it’s not just this stiff kind of environment. We can have fun together.”

The hope is families will come and spend time together.

“I think a lot of times we get busy, especially around this kind of season, around Easter,” Frizzell said. “I think it’s important for families to really take the time to spend time together. I think it’s a great event for us to get together as a community and get together as a church. All of us can serve together and communicate together and just have fun. It’s really important that you spend time with your kids and just do things as a family.”

Layer hopes families feel welcome and consider coming on Sundays. Even if they only show up for events like putt putt or Vacation Bible School, Layer is happy to have everyone stop by.

“The church is meant to be for the community,” he said.