…the oyster suppers at St. Paul’s?

We used to have oyster and chicken salad dinners here at the church. I was a “waitress” for the oyster suppers here starting when I was a teenager. Lots of walking back and forth to the kitchen for platters of fried oysters. My mother, Erma Lentz, was one of the food planners, making sure that chicken, potatoes, and other things were purchased for the dinner. A group of the ladies made the salad dressing for the chicken salad. Bob Platt was one of the ticket takers, stamping tickets with a number, and calling the numbers for the next group of people to come downstairs to eat.

In 1990 our fryers were con-demned by the Fire Inspector because of a lack of the required ventilation safety equipment in the kitchen. Since we were no longer able to fry the oysters here, we joined with the Thorofare Fire Company. We had joint suppers there twice a year for 27 years until the price of oysters became so high they were no longer profitable.

The first oyster supper at St. Paul’s was in 1869, an oyster and terrapin dinner to earn the money to complete the original building. The last oyster supper we served was in 2017.

—Beverly Betz

© 2017- St. Paul's United Methodist Church, West Deptford, NJ