Celebrating its fifth year in 2016, the Christian Family Fun Day (CFFD) continues to grow and is offering a special event this year just for police, fire and EMS workers and their families.
It all ties into the theme of this year’s CFFD – Family Reunion. It’s the hope of founder Richard Edwards that as many people will come out and take part in this special Family Reunion on Saturday, Sept. 17.
“When you have a family reunion you try to get all your family to come. There might be people you invite to a family reunion you don’t invite to a birthday party, but we encourage everybody to come and invite everybody because one day we will have a family reunion in Heaven,” Edwards said. “It’s something God has put on my heart. We have almost every denomination there with more than 50 churches participating, but denominations and those things won’t matter when we get to Heaven.”
The 5th Annual Christian Family Fun Day and Parade is set for September 17 in Hillsville. The event is Christ-centered and in the past has had as many as 75 churches participating. The day will start with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office meeting at St. Paul School at 12:15 p.m. to lead residents of North Carolina and the Cana area with their floats to lineup at the Carroll County Government Complex. That will be followed by a prayer at 1 p.m. and then the parade will officially begin at 1:15 p.m. and will go from the Government Complex to the VFW, at which time the Christian Family Fun Day will start. The Trucker’s Parade For Cancer will follow shortly after at 2 p.m. and organizers ask participants in the Christian Family Fun Day to stay on the streets of U.S. 58 until the Truckers’ Parade comes through to show respect to that parade as well.
Churches, ministries, business and even families are welcome to enter the Christian Family Fun Day Parade. There is no entry form, you just show up. There will be no judging done, as the focus is Jesus Christ and churches connecting with people and each other.
The event is totally free for the churches and people that come, with the exception of the products and CDs that the music ministries have. There will also be Christian Family Fun Day t-shirts. All activities, food and drinks are free. There will also be several stages of Southern Gospel music, Contemporary dramas, and chalk art, as well as bouncy houses and games set up.
While there will be many activities going on Saturday with the Christian Family Fun Day, Edwards and organizers just hope people will continue to be touched and inspired by the event.
“The vision and the whole thing started five years ago with Christian Family Fun Day and has never changed – churches connect with people looking for a church and share their ministries throughout the year. A lot of people who come are people who do not have church homes or may not have been ready to commit to a church,” Edwards said. “The stories that have come out of it are very touching of people who are in church now and are very active in church. It’s not just a big concert or a big fun day. It is for people to connect with a church and hopefully Jesus Christ.”
Marty Dalton will be leading the parade this year, Edwards said Dalton was in a bad automobile wreck a couple of years ago that nearly killed him. He is paralyzed from the waist down and is aa wheelchair, but those things have not slowed him, Edwards said.
“Now he goes and visits people with Pastor Jeff Pickett and he makes frames and things like that,” Edwards said. “He is in a wheelchair, but his faith in God led him to the decision for him to lead the parade.”
Edwards said participants will be coming from all over the Mid-Atlantic for CFFD, with some coming from as far as Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
“The sound companies, the bounce house companies, basically everyone coming is coming to serve and bless God. They don’t charge us a penny,” Edwards said. “Our biggest expense is the advertising and providing the food. It just blows me away that we are blessed like that.”
Edwards said two groups take care of all the sound for the event at no charge. Jordan’s Crossroads has been coming for the event the past three years and providing their services free of charge, for which CFFD is extremely grateful. This year, local resident Sean Rector and his new business New Found Soundz will be working sound for the contemporary and drama stage at no cost to CFFD.
“Both of those save us hundreds of dollars,” Edwards said. “We encourage people to contact Sean if they need sound for a Christian event because he does a great job. We want people to know this is not just a Hillsville or Carroll County thing. We have had churches from all surrounding counties to come set up and participate.”
“In God We Trust Conference”
New to Christian Family Fun Day this year will be the In God We Trust Police, Fire, EMS and Armed Services Conference. The event will be held Sept. 17 beginning at 6 p.m. at Hillsville Pentecostal Holiness Church. The event is closed to those in service and their families.
Former New York City Police Department officer and pastor Andrew Columbia will speak and share his inspiring testimony. There will also be powerful dramas and words from officer’s daughters.
Jeff Dalton, a 33-year police veteran who recently retired after a long career with the Floyd’s Sheriff’s Office, is coordinating the event. Dalton said the event will be a time for police officers and other servicemen and women to confide in each other, enjoy fellowship and hear powerful testimonies.
“It’s a thankless job and it pays very little. It used to be kids wanted to grow up to be a police officer and now it’s the last thing most people want to do,” Dalton said. “It’s a different time. Right now police officers aren’t quite looked on like they used to be because of a bad apple or two, but this is about a spiritual walk for police, fire and EMS and that thing of not holding it all in, being able to take about your problems.”
Andew Columbia is a former NYPD officer with a new movie and book coming out titled “Transformed.” Dalton said it’s about an angry New York cop who encounters God on a New York rooftop.
“He has a powerful testimony about his transformation,” Dalton said. “We also have a guy coming named J.T. Clark with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. His brother and his sister-in-law got killed on a motorcycle about a year ago and it really transformed JT’s life. The guy who hit his brother and sister-in-law went to court and he paid the guy’s fine and has forgiven him. It is a powerful message on forgiveness. There is a not a dry eye in the house when he talks about it.”
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN