Building bridges instead of walls

Building bridges instead of walls

PIQUA — The book of Nehemiah, which deals with the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, played a large part in inspiring a group of local churches to rebuild their connection to the community.

Billed as “a revival movement,” Piqua United is a joint effort involving Greene Street United Methodist Church, True Vine Church, Transformed Life Church, Upper Valley Community Church, Second Baptist Church and others, along with Piqua Compassion Network.

Together, these community servants and servants of God will host a spiritual, family-oriented event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Mote Park, 635 Gordon St., Piqua.

The purpose of the free event is to “show love to the community, to show Jesus in a different light,” said Pastor John Scott of True Vine Church.

“Jesus isn’t nearly as uptight as people believe,” Scott said. “We want to make the church relatable. We’re working with a theme of ‘out of the ashes steps Piqua,’ returning to the roots of the city. You hear so much negative stuff about our city. We want to show that even in the worst of situations can come positivity.”

The idea for Piqua United grew out of a meeting between local ministers and laypersons, who settled on a date of Aug. 8, and roughed out plans for music, speakers and other worship activities.

As fate would have it, Piqua Compassion Network was planning its own event, a picnic with music, games, children’s activities and door prizes, to be held on — you guessed it — Aug. 8.

Ultimately, they all decided to merge their events into one large celebration of food, fun and fellowship.

“It’s so exciting that this is an event where we can work with the unified churches,” said

Ann Hoover, executive director of Piqua Compassion Network.

Graduates of Piqua Compassion Network’s Getting Ahead program, an anti-poverty initiative, will speak at the revival. Other speakers will include Pastor Utsey Shelton of Transformed Life.

Attractions for children 5-12 will include a coloring contest, a “plush” petting zoo (not to worry, the animals are stuffed, not real!), games, contests and prizes including bicycles donated by local individuals and businesses.

All children who attend also will receive a book bag filled with school supplies donated by members of True Vine.

There will be prize giveaways for adults as well, with such items as a vacuum cleaner, gift baskets and gifts cards. DJ Kenny Ray will be on hand to play music and help emcee the event.

The event is partly funded by a grant from the Miami County Foundation, said Pastor Stacy Scott of True Vine. “This event is about churches coming together and partnering with Piqua Compassion Network and businesses, and not wanting anything from the community. Instead, we want to bless the community,” she said.

“We’re hoping this will get bigger and bigger each year,” said Theresa McMillan, a member of Greene Street UMC. “When people work together with like minds, we can accomplish anything.”

Piqua United reaches out to community

Belinda M. Paschal

Belinda M. Paschal can be reached at (937) 451-3341.

Belinda M. Paschal can be reached at (937) 451-3341.