HOLLY POND, Ala. – For the first time, New Hope #2 Baptist Church joined the list of Independence Day community events on Wednesday night.
New pastor Austin Rowell stated that the event had only had two weeks of planning put into it (as he came into the job three weeks ago), and involved setting up a special offering separate from the regular tithes to which members of the church could donate.
Additionally, many members volunteered to bring food and drinks for the celebration, leading to tables full of hot dogs, desserts, soda, and “more ice cream than we know what to do with,” according to Rowell.
When asked why he wanted the church to hold an Independence Day event, Rowell said, “We wanted to be a light in the community, and we wanted to be able to use the facilities that God’s blessed us with here – we have very nice facilities, and we wanted to let the community enjoy it as well. We also want to give people a chance if they’re unchurched to know that there’s a church there in their community that would love to have them and be a part of them.”
Visitors to the event enjoyed free food, games like cornhole and basketball, a trackless train ride for younger children, and a fireworks show after dark. Guests who were not regular members of the church could also enter a drawing to win a summer gift bag full of towels and pool toys.
Youth pastor Amber Thomas said that she felt the event was a great success, saying, “We had a great turnout and we met some awesome people.” Pastor Rowell said that the community can possibly look forward to a Fall Festival with food, festivities, and Trunk-or-Treat, though the church leadership has yet to set it in stone.