By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
Marion Avenue Baptist Church members call service to man ?The hands and feet of Jesus,? and that is what they are planning to do Sunday, Sept. 16, when they host the third annual open house for the Washington community in Central Park.
The event begins with an open house service in the church beginning at 11 a.m. The service will discuss the church and its mission and will be geared to people who do not attend Marion Avenue regularly. After the service, at about 12:15 p.m. the festivities move outside where Marion Avenue pastor Joseph Brown says the street on two sides of the square will be lined with ?the biggest inflatables you have ever seen.? In years past the inflatables have sat outside the Washington Public Library and easily been as tall as that building. Brown said this year there will be more on two sides of the park rather than just one. Washington Street and Marion Avenue will be closed around the square during the event.
?We are celebrating 45 years of Marion Avenue Baptist Church,? Brown said. ?It is our version of customer appreciation as you have seen businesses do around town. It is our chance to let people see what is going on inside. We are in the community. We are a large church in the community.?
Additionally this year also coincides with the church building being completed 150 years ago.
He said a free steak and chicken dinner with all the trimmings will be served to people who attend. A kids menu with hot dogs is also offered. Music will be playing from the Central Park bandstand. There will be pony rides and cotton candy during the event. Brown said people don?t have to attend the service to attend the festivities in Central Park. Brown mentioned the inflatables would be set up Saturday by 11 a.m. for the church?s bus ministry. Brown says there is no ticket to get in. He promises a friendly and relaxed time for people wishing to attend.
People attending other churches are invited to attend the event after their services.
Brown stressed the church is always open to anyone in the community and hopes people will visit. He said the event is the church?s way of saying ?thank you? to the community and helping the people of the church and the people in the community to get to know each other a little better.
On a sign in front of the church, the slogan occasionally reads, ?in the heart of Washington, with Washington at heart.? He said this is an outward display of the inward purpose.