Wednesday, June 23, 2010

WOW Jams happening in Long Beach this week

They seemed to appear literally overnight. Empty school fences, vacant corner lots and bare exterior church buildings all at once seemed to have been plastered with these yellow signs. It is hard to drive very far across town without seeing one flapping in the wind. If that wasn’t enough, numerous groups of volunteers have been hitting the streets passing out hundreds of flyers to every one of their neighbors that they come across. In unison, these banners and flyers are announcing the return of the WOW Jams here in Long Beach.

What exactly is a WOW Jam? Well, it’s basically a community party thrown by local congregations for thousands of their neighbors. Because of strong community support, everything is FREE. Local people provide free haircuts, free contests and prizes, free make-overs, free plants, free family portraits, free groceries, free dinner and so much more. Free, free, free. It is quite an impressive undertaking. Stephen and Linda Tavani (“Peaches” from the group Peaches and Cream – “Reunited” anyone?) are the leaders of the WOW International organization that helps local congregations host these events all across the country.

Beyond the message of hope that these events help communicate, what gets us most excited to see is that local congregations are working together! We need to see more of this in Long Beach. Over 50 local congregations from our city have come together, crossing denomination, size and ethnic lines to collaborate on these 3rd annual gatherings. This important community stakeholder group is an important part of a flourishing city – economically, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually whole!

The West side hosted their event last night and there are 2 more planned for later this week.

Friday, June 25th – Houghton Park in North Long Beach (6301 Myrtle Ave by Jordan HS)
Saturday, June 26th – Poly High School (1600 Atlantic Ave on the football field)

All events start at 4:00 pm and conclude at dusk.

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