Community invited to combined ‘church-in-the-park’ this month
From Splash News Sources
At a time when hate, terrorism and politics are dividing the country, several churches near the state line in Washington have agreed to "come together" on the third Sunday in August to express their common faith and sense of community. .
"Come Together," a gathering organized by six different congregations spread from Newman Lake to Liberty Lake, will start up the music at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 21, in Pavillion Park in Liberty Lake. .
Jonathan Owens, pastor of Heart of the City Church in Coeur d'Alene, will be the keynote speaker at the gathering, which is free and open to the public. .
"Our communities enjoy gathering for summer movies, concerts, fun runs and yard sales, so we thought we ought to gather in unison at least once a year for God," says Don Calkins, senior pastor of Lakeside Church in Liberty Lake. "If God's people humble themselves and come together to pray, the Lord promises to forgive and to heal the land." .
Calkins said the joint gathering is a first for all the participating churches, which hope to make it an annual event. .
"For several years, we would hold a church-in-the-park event, then the next week another church would do the same," Calkins said. "The redundancy seemed like a waste of resources and the practice conveyed a lack of unity among believers. So, I called up all the pastors and said, ‘Let's do this right.' Everyone has been excited about working together for an event that reflects the nature of God and provides a fun and creative way for the local community to explore a life of faith." .
Calkins said God's creative nature is on display in Liberty Lake, where the stream- and spring-fed lake is surrounded by tree-lined mountains of Washington and Idaho. Pavillion Park itself is the centerpiece of the growing community, hosting free weekend summer movies, concerts, fireworks and a summer-end concert (Sept. 3) by the Spokane Symphony. .
"The symphony may have more strings and horns, but our combined worship team has terrific voice, guitar, keyboard and percussion talent," says Calkins, who was trained as a worship leader before founding Lakeside 11 years ago. "The music, drama and kids' activities are all a combined effort of the participating churches. It'll definitely be worth coming out to take part." .
The event will provide special music, drama, bouncy castles, dance and a children's carnival. Please bring your own picnic for lunch. Drinks and treats will be provided. Lawn chairs are encouraged, and awnings may be set up on the side for shade. .
Half-a-dozen churches are signed on to participate in the event, with the possibility of others joining later. These include Liberty Lake Church, Uplift Church, and Lakeside – all of Liberty Lake; Word of Life Church of Newman Lake; Greenacres Christian Fellowship, and Starr Road Baptist Church of Otis Orchards. .
Pastors Carl Hampsch of Word of Life, Ryan Caudill of Liberty Lake Church, Joe Pittenger of Uplift and Calkins are taking a lead role in organizing the park service. Pastors Bill and Judy Dropko of Greenacres Christian Fellowship, and Ben Trigsted of Starr Road Baptist also plan to bring their congregations to the event. YWAM missionary Lucy Jones of Liberty Lake will lead an interpretive cultural dance brought back from her recent tour in the Philippines, where she performed with YWAM's Island Breeze dance troupe. .
Church leaders have been meeting regularly to plan the event, Calkins said, and the city of Liberty Lake has been helpful to provide resources for accommodating a larger crowd. .
"Come Together" guest speaker Jonathan Owens is founder of one of the fastest growing churches in North Idaho, having grown the congregation from 12 to 1,200 since 2006. Earlier this year, the church relocated to a new facility on West Kathleen Avenue to accommodate the growth. .
Visit the Facebook invitation page at http://bit.ly/29PEGLx to learn more about this event or contact Lakeside Church at (509) 210-9779. Participating churches also offer information at their respective websites. .