The third-annual St. Luke Cathedral Family and Friends Day was a great success Saturday afternoon, bringing the Laurelton community together to socialize, have fun, learn about healthy living and praise God.
Dr. Michael Baston, pastor of the cathedral, said he decided to start the event, which is free to all, when he assumed the position in 2006 as a means of bringing community members together in a positive way.
“It’s about seeing young to old mix together. It’s really a family reunion, if you will. That’s my vision. Unity in the community is my vision,” he said while watching a hula-hoop competition set to Christian hip-hop music in front of the church at 133-21 232nd St.. “It’s all about making sure that families are strong and the neighborhood is strong.”
As for the attendees, they appeared to be having a great time eating free food, dancing and being with other Christians in a fun, safe, family environment.
St. Luke Cathedral Youth Pastor Sharod Tomlinson said the day is also a way for the church to maintain its relevance and move within the community in new ways.
“It’s to bring the community together but also to show the people what the church has to offer and to show people that it’s not so much about an old traditional setting, but it’s about new things we believe God is doing in the church,” he said. “It’s just a great place to be for young people to come and have a safe haven, and really where they can learn about Christ and continue to expand their personal relationship with him.”
The event, held on the closed 232ns Street, also featured a range of health-related vendors offering information on where to obtain free HIV tests, dental and medical exams, free and low-cost health coverage, diabetes screenings and more. The vendors were brought in as a means of promoting the other theme of Family and Friends Day, which was an emphasis on the importance of health, and showing hat there are health care options for people of all means.
Laurence Coles, a Jamaica resident who attended the fair for fun and also as a member of Speek Lyfe Entertainment, a group that he said uses popular music to minister God’s word and which hosted some of the entertainment Saturday, said the event was a great opportunity to have fun among like-minded neighbors.
“A lot of people are not aware of how important health is and the different opportunities that are available to get screened for vision, dental, whatever,” he said. “There are a lot of things offered for people in our community.”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cn