07/26/14 — Local church hosts block party

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Local church hosts block party

By Ethan Smith
Published in News on July 26, 2014 11:46 PM

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Tonia Kates, left, makes a face while getting a nibble from a horse \nas she takes a selfie with Marie Best-Bunch on Saturday during the \nNew Spirit Church Ministries block party.

To celebrate his one-year anniversary at New Spirit Church Ministries on North William Street, pastor Marvin Alexander did something a bit unconventional.

He threw a block party.

From Clydesdale horses to motorized flying helicopters, the block party gave something for the community to do on Saturday -- and also provided them with a display of various resources available to them in the community.

"It's about connecting the community back with the resources in this area," he said. "It's about giving something back."

Alexander began planning the event two months ago and reached out to local businesses and social services to help.

The response, he said, was overwhelming.

He also said there is a gap in what is offered to kids in the community once you cross onto the North William Street side of Ash Street.

"When you cross Ash and come to this end of town -- guys, there's nothing," he said. "This event isn't just a church event, it's a community event for everybody, even if you're not religious."

Alexander said he hopes to make this event an annual occurrence.

"This is just the beginning," he said. "We want it to be two to three times the size of this next year."

For him, this event wasn't to celebrate his tenure as a pastor, but was to celebrate him now being in a position in life to give back to the community.

"You're talking to a brother who's done some stuff," he said. "I've sold drugs and I've been in a lot of places where I should've been shot. But I'm here because of God's grace and mercy and I'm able to give back now. And that's what I'm going to do."

His wife, Deirdre, agreed that the event was held to build community.

"No matter who or what you are, there's something here for you," she said. "It is so much fun to see people together and united for a common good."

Alexander hoped the event would reach the children, in order to prevent them from going down the same path he did.

"Even if it only touches one child's life and gets them to turn it around, it's worth it," he said. "That's what it's about."