Jesus Day draws crowd downtown

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 2, 2005

“There are several reasons why I am here,” said Mayor James Perkins Jr. “I believe in the cause, I believe in the message, and I believe in the mission here. I just want to show my support and be a part of the activities.”

According to Dr. Park Chittom Sr., one of its organizers, Jesus Day is an event that all people can enjoy, whether they be young or old, rich or poor, or black or white.

“We come out just to celebrate Jesus and enjoy each other as God’s Church,” he said.

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Over 1,000 people gathered Sunday evening at the intersection of Lauderdale Street and Dallas Avenue to do just that.

The Totally His Ministry Team from Rockford. entertained the audience with songs, skits, and puppet shows.

Songs such as “My God” (done to the tune of My Girl) were a hit with the crowd who sang and clapped along with the performers.

“I’m loving it,” said Becky Griffin. “My daughter is on the drama team.”

In addition, Tina Price performed a praise dance and local gospel groups sang songs.

“I believe we have more in attendance this time,” said Reverend James Spicer. “I’ve been coming for four years and I believe that this is the largest attendance that we had.”

Spicer, along with several other “counselors” were on hand to show those who were lost, the road to salvation.

“Anyone who doesn’t know Christ can contact anyone who has on this shirt,” said Spicer. “We can take them to the Presbyterian Chapel and tell them about Jesus.”

In addition to the spiritual nourishment, those in attendance were also nourished physically – with free food.

“We have one thousand hotdogs and one thousand hamburgers, and seventy pounds of catfish,” said Park Chittom Sr. “When this is over, we will have none left.”

They also had chips, cake, soda, and snow-cones. According to Chittom, area churches provided the food and the volunteers for the event.

“This is my third year coming,” said Monica Hunter. “I’ve enjoyed getting to talk to and mingle (with everyone). We had more this year than we had last year. It is the only way that we all come together.”

“I came last year and I enjoyed it so I came again this year,” said Tonya Smitherman. “Last year, we came with our church, but this year we came as a small group.”

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to worship Jesus in public,” said Natalie Nichols.

“Our goal is that Jesus be the Lord of Selma and Dallas County,” said Chittom.