Georgia-based Christian music band The Remedy, from left, Ethan DeMore — lead vocals; Josh Guillebeau — guitar; Ethan Olmstead — bass; and Caleb Guillebeau — drums, will perform at the Celebrate Jesus event on Oct. 12 at Shiloh United Methodist Church in Newton County. (Special Photo)
To prove that church can be a joyful celebration indoors or outdoors, Shiloh United Methodist Church will hold Celebrate Jesus, an outdoor music and worship event later this month at the Almon ball field in Covington.
“Shiloh UMC wants to do this to fulfill the vision that God has given us,” Shiloh Pastor Mike Wadley said. “We want to provide a safe and fun night of joy for the Almon community to participate in and to show that church can be a joyful celebration, inside or out. We are in constant prayer for fair weather on that day. We will move inside the fellowship hall should that not be the case.”
Celebrate Jesus will be held Oct. 12, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the ball field located at 10 Almon Church Road. The church is also at that location. Everyone is invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the music, fellowship and food. The church will provide free hot dogs and soft drinks.
“Our Celebrate Jesus event was birthed out of a vision,” the pastor said. “We have a baseball field that is used by local teams for practice and it sits empty most of the time. When we were working on our spring barbecue, I stepped outside and saw a vision of the entire field covered in lawn chairs as folks were listening to a band on a stage. When I shared the vision with the leaders of Shiloh, they said we should make it happen and we chose to wait for fall to do it.”
A number of local bands, singers and soloists will be on stage performing that afternoon.
“We have The Denny Family and The Johnson Family, who play and sing in the Newton County area,” Wadley said. “They feature some Southern Gospel and contemporary praise. We have The Remedy coming from Augusta. They are busy doing a lot of fall festivals all over the state. They feature mostly contemporary music. We have Ty Rumble, who will have a segment for children at 5 p.m. and we will also be featuring some of our own soloists.”
Those soloists include Dodie Cason, Heather Miller and Laramy Wells. Ty Rumble and Kidz will present a children’s musical program and supervise games for the youngsters.
Enthusiasm is running high at the church as the time nears for Celebrate Jesus and the pastor said his church has been excited since the vision was first shared with the congregation.
“As the time approached, we had an open meeting for all who were interested to begin the planning stage,” Wadley said. “There were 27 folks at the meeting — that is a fourth of our average Sunday attendance. As planning evolved, the decision to go countywide in getting the word out was birthed. Someone said, ‘If we’re doing this for Jesus, then let’s go big!’”
The pastor said he has no idea how many people to expect at the event, but said the church is prepared to welcome them, feed them and “celebrate Jesus with them in praise and worship.” He said they are hoping for the ball field to be filled with people that day.
“We were led to make this a family event for the Almon community,” Wadley said, adding that they don’t usually have events such as this in their area.
“We really want this to be a gathering for all, including differing denominations and those who are not regular churchgoers. We decided to do a hot dog cookout, provide fun activities and bounce houses for the kids, and have differing styles of music so anyone might find their place of joy in the worship. We then decided to give gifts.”
The pastor said there will be drawings for six $100 gas cards and added that the winners must be present to claim their prize.
There is no charge for the day’s activities, food or parking.
“When we discussed donations, the price for the hot dog meal and love offerings for the groups coming, the folks at Shiloh were in one accord — that this celebration should be our gift to the community,” Wadley said. “God has been blessing us and we must pass on the blessing. We want people to just come and celebrate Jesus with us.”
Beth Slaughter Sexton is a freelance writer based in Gwinnett County. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.