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Church of the Mediator hosts 32nd annual barbecue

By By Penny Randall/The Meridian Star
Nov. 9, 2001
Mouth-watering barbecue with all the trimmings and community fellowship will be on the bill Saturday at the 32nd Annual Church of the Mediator Barbecue.
Strahan and his wife, Cathy, are this year's barbecue chairmen. The barbecue is the church's only fund-raiser. All money raised benefits local charities.
While all cooking and selling for the fund-raiser is now done at the church, the event began 32 years ago at the fairgrounds during the Mississippi-Alabama State Fair.
After many years, church members decided to move the event to the church grounds and what is now known as the "Mediator Barbecue" began.
Preparations for the event begin months in advance. Volunteers dig a large pit in which they cook the pork and beef. They also prepare items for the freezer sale.
Homemade eclairs are another highlight. Gerri Holladay of Meridian, a member of the church since the 1950s, is known for her chocolate eclairs.
Holladay began making the eclairs about 30 years ago. "The first year I made about a dozen, and people seemed to enjoy them."
This year, Holladay with help from her husband will make about 300.
She started making the shells in October and placed them in the freezer. The day before the event, the shells will be taken out to thaw. They will be placed in the oven for a few minutes and then stuffed with the chocolate custard. It takes about 11 hours to stuff the eclairs.
The eclairs are placed in large dress boxes, donated by The Liberty Shop, lined with tin foil and a tasty icing is poured over them.
Saturday's barbecue will feature children's activities and a freezer bake sale. A handmade quilt by local artist Ruthie Irwin will be raffled off.
The freezer bake sale includes vegetable dishes, chili, a variety of soups and meat entrees.
Barbecue plates are $6 and will include barbecue pork or beef, cole slaw, baked beans and Texas toast. For delivery of five or more plates, call 483-3959. Pulled pork or beef will also be sold in 3-pound packages.
Penny Randall is an editorial assistant at The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3216, or e-mail her at