Local church holds event to bring community together after facing year of COVID-19 challenges

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Grace Fellowship Church hosted “Party in the Park” to bring the community together following a challenging year.

Food, games and fun were had at the event that was held on Saturday at Carver Park and Rotary Park.

The event brought hundreds of church and community members out over the past two weekends.

“It’s been a tough year for everybody,” Teaching Pastor Titus O’Bryant said. “People have felt more isolated. There’s been fewer opportunities to get together and do the things we normally do, and so this is an opportunity for all of us to get outside in the fresh air.”

“This past year, you know, we offered online services so we could still connect with our body, but I know so many people were just sad to not be able to be together,” Outreach Coordinator Amanda Brown said. “We’ve tried to create safe environments for that.”

Brown said she wanted to create an event especially for children of the community to enjoy after dealing with the stresses of the pandemic. 12-year-old Piper Hixson was one of many children in attendance.

“I’m not really good without my friends and being with people,” Hixson said. “Being able to be with people is way better for me.”

O’Bryant is not only a pastor, but a parent. He said watching his kids be able to enjoy the event after a long year dealing with COVID-19 was very rewarding.

“They’re playing with their friends, and they’re also meeting new friends on the playground,” O’Bryant said. “When their routines have been disrupted this past year like everybody else, it just feels like a little bit of a normal good time again.”

The church is hosting another outdoor event on Aug. 15. An outdoor bluegrass service organizers say they hope will also bring the the community together again in a safe way.

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