Piqua United fosters unity in community
Picnic set for Aug 13
by Belinda M. Paschal
PIQUA–What started as a seed of an idea has blossomed into an endeavor with roots running deeply into the Piqua community.
With a theme of “Great Joy in the City,” Piqua United is a joint effort involving Piqua Compassion Network, True Vine Church, Piqua Christian Church, Upper Valley Community Church, Joyful Noise Class, Greene Street United Methodist Church, and CLC Piqua. The aim is to reach out to residents who are underserved or unconnected within the community.
Offering food in both the spiritual and literal senses, as well as games, music, prizes and more, the family-oriented event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, in Mote Park.
Piqua United was born last year, after a collection of local ministers and laypersons planned an event for early August, only to learn that Piqua Compassion Network was planning a picnic, coincidentally, for the same date. The two groups decided to merge their gatherings into one.
“Throughout America, we see a lot of divisions–across racial lines, religious lines, and everything else,” said Pastor John Scott of True Vine Church. “This is a way to show that we are one. We are not promoting any particular church or ministry over another because God is love. Piqua United is our way of showing people who are the most ostracized and marginalized that they are loved.”
Theresa McMillan, a member of Greene Street UMC, said Piqua United is special in that it brings together “neighbors with neighbors and churches with churches, working together to accomplish a common goal.”
Ann Hoover, executive director for Piqua Compassion Network, added that Piqua United promotes not only unity, but hope. To that end, one of the speakers at the event will be a graduate of Piqua Compassion Network’s Getting Ahead program, an initiative to help end generational poverty. “She will show that there is hope and possibility in this city,” Hoover said.
Other speakers will include Piqua Mayor Kazy Hinds; Pastor Dave Fishback of Piqua Christian Church; Pastor John Scott; and Pastor David Dyss of CLC Piqua.
Pastor Stacy Scott, also from True Vine, as well as president of Piqua Compassion Network, said last year’s event drew 483 people to the park. “We gave away two brand-new bikes and 136 backpacks filled with school supplies,” she said. Scott said this year’s goal is 150 backpacks, and that donations of school supplies will be gratefully accepted. Those wishing to donate can do so by dropping off supplies through Friday at True Vine, which his located at 531 W. Ash St.
Once again, Piqua United will offer kids the chance to win a shiny new set of wheels by participating in a coloring contest. The two bicycles were donated by Thrivent Financial.
Adding to the food, fellowship and festivities, music will be provided by DJ Kenny Ray, and Susie’s Big Dipper will be serving up sweet treats. There also will be a petting zoo with a decidedly non-traditional twist.
A new feature this year will be the presence of members of the local police and fire departments, who will lead youngsters in a game of “Simon Says.”
In addition to Thrivent Financial, Piqua United’s sponsors are the Miami County Foundation, Melcher-Sowers Funeral Home, Wal-Mart, Jamieson & Yannucci Funeral Home, and Gordon Food Supply. Several local businesses also donated prizes.
“I’m really excited about our theme this year,” Stacey Scott said. “I think this is a great time for this city. Piqua has gotten a bad rap for a long time. This is a great place. There should be joy here, there should be hope here. God has great things in store for this city.”
Reach Belinda M Paschal at (937) 451-3341