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Love Norwalk unifies churches, serves families

Cary Ashby • Aug 9, 2019 at 2:30 PM

Carnival games and two bounce houses will be part of the fun at the Love Norwalk event Saturday.

The faith-centered, family-focused festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Main Street in downtown Norwalk. More than 100 volunteers from seven churches are participating — Oasis Church, The Foundation Church, First Baptist, First Presbyterian and Norwalk Alliance churches, The Chapel and Maple City Church of God.

Pastor Vince Cooper, of the Oasis Church, said the main mission of Love Norwalk is uniting local parishes.

“It’s very satisfying to see our congregations pray together,” he added. “That vision (of collaboration) is coming to fruition; we are seeing it occur.”

Before the event starts, there will be prayer time at 10:15 a.m. in front of Main Street Intermediate School.

Pastors who have organized Love Norwalk, now in its sixth year, said the biggest accomplishment is seeing the churches work together to best serve the community. It also helps children be better prepared for the school year.

“That’s a gift for them too,” said Pastor Bob Hudberg, of The Foundation Church. “God smiles when He sees churches work together.”

“We are giving away backpacks, socks, toiletries and free haircuts,” added Pastor Nicole Cooper, who shares ministerial duties with her husband Vince at Oasis.

Pastor Charles Conrad, of The Chapel, said “there’s something powerful about meeting the basic needs of people in the community and sharing the love of Christ” at the same time.  

The Elite School of Cosmetology will provide free haircuts.

At the front of the Norwalk Theatre, Answering the Call Together Inc. volunteers will grill hot dogs and East of Chicago will distribute pizza. The theater is located at 57 E. Main St.

Many organizations will have booths in downtown Norwalk. Those include: Help Me Grow, the Huron County Board of Mental Health and Addiction, Riley’s Angels, The Starfish Project Inc. of Huron and Erie Counties, Love Bus ministry, Teen Challenge, Abigail Pregnancy Services, Cindy Hay (who oversees a healing center), Hope Restored, Child Evangelism Fellowship and the Gideons. First Presbyterian Church volunteers will distribute crosses they made.

Riley’s Angels is an organization that maintains and places service and therapy dogs to improve people’s lives.

“They are going to have emotional support dogs,” Conrad said.

Hope Restored is a non-profit organization. Cooper said its mission is bringing peace and “ending violence for every man, woman and child.”

Last year, about 1,000 people attended Love Norwalk.

Pastor Jeff Watson, of The Foundation Church, said he has witnessed people open up and share their burdens and concerns during previous versions of the event. He said he envisions Love Norwalk as a way of fulfilling Matthew 25:39-40 by providing clothes and food for families in need.

“It’s a great spiritual chance to be able to pray for people,” Watson added.

For more information, go to the Love Norwalk Facebook page.

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