ROCK ISLAND — New Hope Church and Living Water Christian Center are teaming up to offer a 2019 “River of Life Day.”
The celebration to honor first responders and their families is from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Schwiebert Riverfront Park, 101 17th St., Rock Island.
The day will include food, games, prizes, live music, face painting and bounce houses.
Baylee Drezek, Miss Iowa USA 2019, will be a special guest at the event.
The Rev. Darlene Williams, associate pastor at MGT New Hope, the former Moline Gospel Temple, is coordinating the River of Life Day. Her husband, the Rev. Robert Williams, is also an associate pastor at New Hope.
“We are looking for local businesses, organizations and churches to help make this event truly special for our community and help with the cost of the day,” she said. For more information, call Williams at 443-567-8072.
“We believe the police officers are the center of our community, and we want to honor them for all they do,” Williams said.
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The Rev. Scott Reece said: “The unity of our city that is offered through River of Life Day is a critical component in terms of unifying our forces and serving our city at maximum capacity.”
“To see hundreds of people come together and share a fun day in the park, regardless of race, color and creed, strengthens us as a community,” he said. “The impact of River of Life Day goes far beyond this one-day event. This has the potential to shape and influence our community throughout the year.
“This is a great opportunity to say thank you to our first responders as we come together as a community to show our appreciation to those who often serve without a lot of recognition but always do it with excellence, notwithstanding.”
The Rev. Angelo Julien Sr., the senior pastor at Living Water Christian Center, said:, “Too often, we take for granted the men ad women who put our safety before their own on a daily basis. Our first responders serve our community well, and we consider it an honor to rally the community together to honor and celebrate them for their service to the community.
"Psalm 133:1 declares that it is good and pleasant for us to dwell together in unity. MGT New Hope and Living Water Christian Center are committed to fostering unity within our community. Many conversations have taken place about unity, but we believe unity is best illustrated and we’ve chosen to do so, with love and appreciation.”
Williams shared how the idea for the “River of Life Day” came about, and said, “Every day on the news we hear about murders and racism, but there are many people who love God and want to see our nation whole, so we are coming together, New Hope Church and Living Water Christian Center, with other churches and businesses to celebrate our men and women who are on the streets facing adversity every day.
“We want the River of Life to flow from our hearts into the hearts of the people in our city — the first responders and those people who feel broken and lost, to let them know that there are people who really care about them. We hope our celebration will get that message across,” she said.