By Riley Manning
TUPELO – When First Methodist, All Saints’ Episcopal and First Presbyterian churches talk about being ecumenical, they aren’t just blowing hot air.
At their first Festival at the Field on Wednesday, the churches provided attractions for their members and the community including live music, grilled eats, bounce castles and a hot-air balloon.
“Between our three churches, we have lots of resources,” said First Methodist’s Older Children Coordinator Kristen Partin. “It’s also a chance for our members to meet faces they see all the time going to church right next to each other.”
A few hundred gathered at Robins Field at the corner of North Madison and East Jackson streets to join in the fellowship. In the same spirit as the trio of church’s annual Trunk-or-Treat event, they hoped people in the surrounding neighborhood would hear the ruckus and come investigate.
“After Trunk-or-Treat last year, the conversation just never really stopped,” said the Rev. Stanford Adams, curate at All Saints’. “We weren’t sure what to expect as far as a turnout, but we wanted to draw the neighbors out and for everyone to be comfortable.”
All Saints’ member Frank Anger was manning the hot-air balloon, taking groups of three or four on a short ride into the air. Like many of the three churches’ volunteers who contributed to the event, Anger said they barely even had to ask him to help.
“I just love doing this, and most of the time I do hot-air balloon races on the weekend,” he said. “It’s been great. Most of the people I’ve taken up today have never experienced this before.”
First Presbyterian associate pastor of young adults and outreach, the Rev. Carson Overstreet, was thrilled with the turnout.
“Anytime we can provide genuine spaces of fellowship, you’re going to see those relationships grow,” Overstreet said.