MADISON HEIGHTS — Wishing to get more involved with the community, Madison Heights United Methodist is putting together a free community event that will try to offer a bit of everything to everyone.
Grilled food, live music, a rummage sale, craft sale, classic cars, children’s activities and exhibits about charitable initiatives are all planned for the outdoor event, which will take place from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, at the church, 246 E. 11 Mile. Admission is free, and ample parking is available.
Called “All God’s Creatures: Music, Wheels & Deals,” it marks the first time Madison Heights United Methodist has attempted such a multi-faceted event.
“I’m excited about this event,” said Pastor Rhonda Osterman. “I’m a little nervous since we haven’t done this event before and we don’t know what result we’ll get, but hopefully we’ll find what works well and learn from what’s not so popular, and then we can create some sort of outdoor event that will become an annual thing.”
Madison Heights United Methodist are no strangers to engaging the community: Their community dinners each month from September through April are well-attended, as are the forums they hold on such sensitive topics as domestic violence and child abuse. Other events have included a community garden, movie nights, free Christmas concerts and services for those in need during the holidays.
But recently, the church has been brainstorming more ways to reach more people, believing they can strengthen families and relations between neighbors by bringing everyone together for a good time. Multiple subcommittees at the church proposed different ideas, which all merged into the current event.
The event opens with an outdoor worship service at 11 a.m., which will wrap up around noon. Then, the rest of the activities will get started.
People can vote on the classic cars that show up, and a trophy will be awarded to the fan favorite. Anyone is free to bring a classic car.
For the rummage sale, the church is accepting donations that they will then resell at the event. Proceeds recoup the cost of the event and help fund future church initiatives. Just call the church office to contribute. They’re trying to avoid clothing items, sticking mostly to donations like household items and lawn décor.
For the craft and vendor sale, people can rent spaces for $25; if they need the church to provide a table, it costs $30, but vendors can bring their own tables. The tables provided by the church are 8 feet long. Vendors make money off the items they sell.
There’ll be plenty to eat and drink, including barbecue items, a variety of meatballs, popcorn, ice cream, pop and more.
Contemporary Christian music, oldies and current hits will be playing. Pianist and entertainer Ron Elrod will perform live at 2 p.m.
The kids can also look forward to carnival-style games, a bounce house, face-painting, arts and crafts, and more.
But it’s not all fun and games, since there will also be educational exhibits about current church projects like Imagine No Malaria and Hands 4 Detroit.
Hands 4 Detroit is an initiative by the Detroit Renaissance District of the United Methodist Church. The Madison Heights church will be sending a taskforce of volunteers to Detroit in October to clean up parks and neighborhoods, collect food, and more.
Imagine No Malaria is an even larger initiative, spanning the Detroit Conference of the United Methodist Church — a regional collection of districts including all of the Upper Peninsula and the eastern part of the Lower Peninsula. The goal is to help impoverished people in Africa by supplying mosquito nets that protect against mosquitoes carrying malaria. Just $10 buys a net that keeps an entire family safe from life-threatening illness. The initiative also involves educating the families on how to use the nets, seek treatment at clinics and so forth.
“People can learn about Imagine No Malaria at the event, and hopefully they’ll donate to the cause,” Osterman said. She noted that she’s been holding classes at the church, training people how to use Microsoft programs like Word and Excel, from 10-11:15 a.m. every Saturday. The $5 admission fee also goes to Imagine No Malaria and counts as a tax deduction.
The event will also educate people who are in need about opportunities for food, temporary shelter, household items and more. The church will be providing packets of information and application forms for those currently in need of assistance.
“They can simply fill out an application, and we’ll do what we can to help them out,” Osterman said.
The event is outdoors, but there will be tents set up in case it rains, and if the weather gets really foul, most activities can be moved indoors.
Deliza Lee, administrative assistant at Madison Heights United Methodist, said she hopes the event will let people know about what the church can do for them.
“I feel that we have more to share with the community than just Sunday service,” Lee said in an email. “And we are planning on more events to come. We may be a small church, but we have huge hearts.”
The pastor said they just want to make people happy.
“Our deepest hope is to make a positive impact on the community,” Osterman said. “That’s our goal: to be a positive influence in the community.”
“All God’s Creatures: Music, Wheels & Deals” will take place from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, at Madison Heights United Methodist Church, 246 E. 11 Mile. Admission is free, and ample parking is available. For more information, call the church office at (248) 544-3544.