Despite being in the midst of a pandemic and racial tensions at an all-time high last year, minister at The Oasis: Christ’s Church at Athens Jerome Malone, as well as his congregation, came up with the idea to hold a “Love for the City” event. It was so well-regarded that it will be happening again this year. The events will be held Friday through Sunday.
“We wanted to do something in our city to just get individuals from different walks of life and give them an opportunity to come together and show love for this place,” Malone said. “We wanted to do something to put unity, peace and love on display in our city.”
Malone said the event will offer free food, good music and give the people a chance to come together in a socially distanced environment.
The weekend festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Athens Library with a community panel discussion called “Can we just talk?”
“We’re going to be discussing how do we better love one another and the community,” Malone said.
The “Love for the City” events will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Athens Courthouse Square.
Malone said Saturday will include musical performances by Will Stutts from Lindsay Lane Baptist Church, rapper Dante’ Pride and Deep South. The event will have food trucks, live performances and activities for kids, according to a flyer received by The News Courier.
Four individuals from the city will also be honored in Saturday’s festivities, according to Malone.
“Donna Townsend, who has a ministry called ‘Beyond Blessed’ where she ministers to the homeless. Jarrett Collier, who works with the Boys and Girls Club and has had an impact on our youth in the city in a major way,” Malone said. “Jan Matthews, who really deals with the educational side of empowering the youth, and James Long, who does some third-world ministry support sending bibles and medical supplies to other countries.”
Malone also acknowledged that funds will be raised for the Athens-Limestone Hospital frontline workers during the three-day event.
Saturday is “Love for the City,” and Sunday will be about “Love for the World” and will begin at 10 a.m.
“We’re having a community worship service at the Athens Library Garden,” Malone said. “When people have an opportunity to get in each other’s space and get to know each other better, I think we can better understand each other,” he said. “I think as a city we’re stronger when you have diversity and we’re able to work together and build off the different things that make us who we are.”