Unity picnic strengthens church ties

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Fun at the faith picnic

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Prayers for sunshine and clear skies were heard Saturday for more than 20 churches that gathered for a city-wide picnic.

The City-Wide Faith Based Alliance in Hamilton — a fellowship of 22 churches across denominations — met Saturday for its third annual Unity City-Wide Picnic at the Booker T. Washington Community Center.

Pastor Andrew Smith of Second Baptist Church said a new addition to this year’s city-wide picnic is a joint worship service to be held at 4 p.m. Sunday at Payne Chapel AME Church on Front Street.

“We’re crossing all racial and denominational lines … to represent the universal church of Christ,” Smith said.

Pastor Erwin McIntosh, of Payne Chapel, will lead the joint service with the theme “Building Bridges to Unite People.” The community is invited to attend.

Hundreds gathered Saturday for the church picnic — complete with songs from children and adult choirs, games, worship, and a menu of fried fish, chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, beans and potato salad.

Officers from the Hamilton Police Department created fingerprint kits for children, and workers from Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati helped to sign people up for health coverage through Medicaid.

Amy Cobb, of Hamilton, attended the city-wide picnic for the first time this year to visit her three children, David, 11; Annalise, 10; and Nicholas, 6, who are currently in foster care.

“I like the music. … I think it’s wonderful if the kids are able to recognize the songs from church,” Cobb said, a member at Christ Temple Church of God in Christ.

Beverly Sutton-Young and Debi Morris-Thompson, both members at Pilgrim Baptist Church, are founding members of the faith alliance and city-wide picnic. The effort formed out of a need to bring children and the greater community together, Morris-Thompson said.

“We started putting up fliers and contacting churches and it’s blossomed,” said Morris-Thompson, adding the group is planning a gospel festival for later this year. “Everyone’s come in willing and wanting.”

The 22 churches involved in the faith alliance, which meets monthly, include members of the Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist denominations.

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