Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 19, 2017

Praising while mingling

Annual Praise and Picnic in the Park held Saturday
Aug 08, 2017
Photo by: Brooks Taylor Four Christian worship bands performed at the Aug. 5 “Praise and Picnic in the Park,” which was hosted in Mt. Pleasant’s Central Park. Shown performing in the above photo is the Faith Christian Outreach Center’s (FCOC) Praise Team Band.

By Brooks Taylor, Mt. Pleasant News

 

Lori Werner of Mt. Pleasant was doing some thinking about a decade ago and came up with the idea of getting the community’s residents and churches together in an outdoor center.

Those thoughts led to the annual Praise and Picnic in the Park which was hosted for either the eighth or ninth year Saturday night in Mt. Pleasant’s Central Park.

“I thought it would be good to have the people and churches together in an outdoor setting,” Werner reflected. “I don’t know whether this is the eighth or ninth year we’ve done it.”

Werner has organized each of the gatherings, modestly referring to herself as “the behind-the-scenes person.” She wouldn’t admit to being the “organizer for life” but said she doesn’t mind the organizing.

The event is either the last weekend of July or first weekend of August, depending how the scheduling and timing works out for the churches, she said.

A member of the Mt. Pleasant Open Bible Church, Werner said her church and the Faith Christian Outreach Center (FCOC) are consistent participants and sometimes a third church also is involved. This year, Harmony Bible Church of Danville (and Burlington) was a first-time participant.

“I think it is great to have the community focused on God,” Werner stated. “It is great to work with other churches for a common purpose.”

Four musical groups — the E3 Youth Ministry Band, FCOC Praise Team, Harmony Bible Worship Team and the Open Bible Worship Team — provided the music during the four-hour event.

Mary Ann Walljasper said she has been at the event every year. “I am so impressed with the way the town of Mt. Pleasant connects spiritually. We praise the Lord together and am proud that we can come together to do this.”

Kristi Anderson of Burlington has been in the past five gatherings and she said she enjoys listening to the different bands from the churches involved and worshipping together. “I also enjoy being around people. There are a lot of people from my church and other churches to meet and greet.”

Mt. Pleasant Superintendent of Schools John Henriksen has been at each of the past events, too. “I can’t believe that we’ve had it this long. I think it is a great time for believers from different churches to praise God. I think unity is a great thing.”

He added that Praise and Picnic in the Park is a reminder that God has people working in all the churches. “It also expands our reach to other churches.”

Saturday night’s weather, although cloudy, was cool with a hint of fall in the air, which made the event all the more enjoyable, participants said. Several hundred people brought their lawn chairs and most hunkered down on the north side of the park where the bands performed.

Mt. Pleasant’s Carolyn White has been attending for four or five years and she likes the fact “that it is an ecumenical celebration where people of different faiths can come to praise and share their musical talents with the community. I enjoy listening to the different praise and worship groups and mingling with people in an informal atmosphere.”

Werner said she begins planning the event in late winter or early spring. “I enjoy it, so I’ve never really thought of it as work.”

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