Grayling Baptist Church was the site of a community winter coat sale on Sat., Sept. 29.


GRAYLING — “It was cool!” says the Rev. David Longstaff. “You should have seen it when we opened the doors at 10 a.m. There were people lined up all the way around the parking lot.”

More than 100 visitors came to Grayling Baptist Church when it held its first winter coat giveaway in Grayling on Saturday, Sept. 29. The church was assisted by Tennessee missionary Jimmy Hodges and his grandson, who gathered up the winter coats and other items.

Pastor David met Jimmy several years ago on a missions trip. When Jimmy told Pastor David of his coat ministry, David invited him up to Northern Michigan to hold an event here.

Pastor David estimates the church housed some 500 winter coats, plus blankets, shoes and the other family needs. Within an hour, some of the tables were already empty.

Visitors enjoyed their experience finding the coats they needed for family members at the church and asked David if he would consider doing another one next year. Pastor David said he will try to arrange it.

Grayling Baptist Church is located 705 Madsen St. in Grayling. Worship services are held on Sundays at 11 a.m.

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Kurt J. Kolka grew up in the small community of Grayling, Mich., near the forested AuSable River. After majoring in English at college, he began a career in writing and newspapers spanning more than two decades. In his spare time he creates a Christian comic strip, The Cardinal, which has a 28-year history of publication. He has also authored a book, “Bullying is No Laughing Matter” (Front Edge Publications, Ann Arbor, Mich., 2014) and is working on his first novel. Kurt and his wife Diane have been married for more than 25 years and have one daughter, Rebekah, and an overprotective dog, Alli. Of life, Kurt says, “Life is never dull with God at the steering wheel, but, man, does He have a lead foot!” More about Kurt and his musings may be found at


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