What happens when the church and the community come together? Celebration Stillwater! Sept. 23, the churches and local businesses of Stillwater, in cooperation with the city of Stillwater, hosted the second annual event at Couch Park from noon-6. Everything the entire day was free to the public. First a few of the hard numbers:

There were more than 3,000 confirmed people at Couch Park.

The Lions Club health screening organizer wrote, “We had the busiest health screenings that we have ever experienced on a local level and quite possibly on a state level. We screened at least 125 in six hours. We identified two people with diabetes and one person with glaucoma who had no idea that anything was wrong with them.”

Local dentists saw 150 people. Many more toothbrushes were given out.

Car Care was max’ed out. They changed the oil in about 60 vehicles. The Car Care organizer said the only way they could have done more was if they had more electronic lifts.

More than 3,000 hot dogs, 300 dozen cookies and unlimited soda pop were served.

Volunteers at the balloon hat area required bandages because they blistered their fingers making so many balloons. Hundreds of faces were painted, hundreds of bracelets made.

Encouraging talks were given by firemen, policemen, athletes, doctors, moms, businessmen, “storm chasers” and others.

Seventeen carnival-like games were set up. Additional trips to the store were required for candy because so many kids participated. Six inflatables were set up with lines of smiling kids playing on them for six straight hours. Eight horses were busy giving rides to “kids” of all ages.

More than $4,000 worth of prizes were given away, including a flat screen TV, Kicker Stereo equipment and Cooper’s bicycles.

Seven OSU athletic teams were present, giving clinics and autographs.

The evening ended with a concert by the Overflow band who played music ranging from 3 Dog Night to Charlie Hall to Chris Tomlin.

The MEGA Sports Camp (Tuesday-Thursday) provided three days of fun, encouragement and sports coaching to approximately 80 kids each night.

Those are just the “hard facts.” Other observations were:

1. A comment was made that “I never saw one unhappy person; I never heard one child crying on Saturday.”

2. A genuine desire and joy by the volunteers to be serving. There were more than 500 volunteers from more than 20 churches who participated during the week, not including the various random acts of kindness that occurred that week.

3. Matthew 25:34 speaks of Celebration Stillwater. The community saw what happens when the churches of Stillwater come together and serve the town.

Too often, a town’s viewpoint of the church are the editorials that argue about right and wrong. Though Jesus never compromised where he stood on issues, one can never mistake his love for those he was around. For the church to be relevant in the community, the community must see what they are for, not what they are against. I hope Celebration Stillwater is a start in that direction.

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