Grace Church hosting community block party

Claudia Loucks
Geneseo Republic

Imagine a stack of 2,000 food items in the parking lot of Grace United Methodist Church. Dave Johnson hopes just that will happen during the church's upcoming community block party.

The party will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 17 at the church.

This year's event is emphasizing the Geneseo Food Pantry, and Johnson, a long-time member of Grace Church, said, "We are asking those who attend to bring several containers of non-perishable food," he said. "Our goal is to collect 2,000 cans of food or more on that weekend alone. We can meet that goal with the resolve of Grace Church people and that of our block party visitors from the community. Can you imagine the stack of food that will be in the middle of the parking lot?"

During the block party, activities will take place both indoors at the church and outside on church grounds.

The day will include a free lunch featuring hot dogs, grilled pork chops, bratwursts, chips, brownies and beverages. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The theme for the day will be "Displays of Grace" and talents of church members, ranging from photography to quilting to art work and more, will be on display.

A variety of music will be featured throughout the day, along with activities for children, from face painting, balloon art and bounce houses to a dunk tank.

Children are invited to "Stories in the Library," presented by church senior pastor, the Rev. Melva Graham England.

Door prize drawings will be held throughout the day.

The block party is "for anyone who wants to join us," Johnson said.

"We are hoping area residents will join us at the block party and take the opportunity to see the interests of many of our members," said Linda Keag.

The day will include a special presentation on the church's work in Haiti, which includes a building and care of a church and school building in Northwest Haiti. Church member Brian Berry has made several trips to the country to oversee numerous projects and will share information on efforts to develop garden plots and having water well drilled in January of next year.

The block party idea had been brewing in Johnson's mind for some time, and was introduced last summer, he said.

"For a long time I have felt like our church is behind as far as making itself known to the community. I have often thought people might wonder what goes on inside our church. This is an opportunity for our people to meet the folks of the community and tell them who we are, from our outstanding programs to our worldwide mission work.

"Our church mission statement is 'To passionately follow Jesus Christ and bring others to know God's love,' and I think the block party gives us an opportunity to do just that," Johnson said.

"I have always been a firm believer in The Great Commission when Jesus said to the disciples, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,' and that's what we are to do," he added.

Johnson said, "The vision behind the block party is that we invite people to visit us in a casual atmosphere so that we may renew old friendships and to also become friends with those we have not yet met."

For more information, contact Johnson at 944-3412 or Keag at 944-6917.

STEVE WILDEMUTH, left, creates a hat for Clara

Huddleston, 6. Wildemuth will entertain children with his balloon art during Grace United Methodist Church's community block party on Aug. 17.