Story and photos by Alice Gerard
A basket raffle, snacks, beverages and bounce houses were the attractions at the Summer Breakout event held July 10 at Trinity United Methodist Church.
According to Cherie Sharp, a co-director of children’s programming at the church, “This is an event that Pastor Kevin (Slough) had started a few years ago, when he was new. I think that our first was right before COVID. This is really just a way to say hello to the community. For people who might not know that we are here, come in and bring your families, enjoy your families for the day, have fun, bring your friends. Just a very casual thing just to let people know we’re here and invite them and open up our doors.”
Slough said the event was all about children having fun in an event offered to the community without cost.
Sharp, who has been co-director of children’s programming for the past six years, said the church is continuing to open and that more programs are being offered to children and families.
“For a lot of the children, this is the first year that we’ve done a little camp,” she said. “Some of them are going to an away camp to do some fellowship or maybe work with some other churches for charity work. Mitch (Johnson, the youth program director) is doing movie nights on Mondays. We started movie nights here one Monday a month. Kids can come and hang out and have fellowship and watch a nice movie. We’re going to start other activities, like maybe laser tag. We’re getting back to doing group things that we didn’t do during COVID.
“We’re coming back from COVID. It’s very exciting. There are social pieces that people are longing for. We had stopped them for a while to try to figure out how to deal with this. People need other people.
“That’s our goal here: To let them know that they are loved, no matter who they are. We want to build safe spaces for everyone, to just feel welcome and come here, and it doesn’t matter where you are on the social status. You’re welcome here, and you’re important.”
Cherie Sharp, who has been co-director of children’s programming at Trinity United Methodist Church for six years, said the church is creating “safe spaces” for people of all ages.
The bounce house and the water slide were big hits for the kids, Sharp said. “Kids always love it. As long as I’ve been here, we’ve had them at all of our kids’ events. We do kids’ events twice a year. They love the giant water slide. That brings a lot of excitement. I was out talking to a few who were here, and they were like, ‘We see the bounce houses.’ So that’s a big draw, a big excitement.”
Sharp said Johnson was recently hired. He “is bringing a lot of youthfulness into the program.”
The next big event for the church, Sharp said, is rally day, which will be held in September. Sharp described that as “a welcome back to Sunday school.”
According to Slough, “Rally Day is when people of all ages, usually one week after kids go back to school, come and they have a big cookout and they party out here. They sign kids, youth and adults up for Christian education throughout the school year. It always involves food. We are Methodist.”
He described the church as “a Bible-based, deeply rooted in the Christian faith church that is here to bless the community and to bring people in to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior.”
The next community event will be the church’s annual fall festival.
“It’s around mid-October. That’s when we have our ‘Trunk or Treat.’ It is our biggest fundraiser,” Sharp said.
Diane Gerard checks out some of the offerings at the summer breakout event’s basket raffle.