Members of the Progressive Life Giving Word Cathedral choir perform at the 16th Annual Brotherly Love Experience on July 30. | David Pollard
The long-standing tradition of a local church once again brought fun and fellowship to Bohland Avenue recently.
Members of God’s House of Brotherly Love, located at 425 Bohland Ave. in Bellwood, blocked off a portion of the street in front of the church on July 30 and utilized a portion of Memorial Park to host the church’s 16th annual community festival called the Brotherly Love Experience.
The festival was geared toward the young and the old while the youth played basketball, enjoyed the bouncy house, petting zoo and other activities. The adults socialized while listening to various gospel artists perform on stage and there was free food for everyone.
The church’s pastor, Pam Lawrence, said the festival was the idea of her late husband and the church’s former pastor Glandis Lawrence III.
“When he first talked about it we laughed at him,” Lawrence recalled.
But now it has become an annual tradition, getting the youth ready for the upcoming school year. About 120 school backpacks and school supplies were given out to the youth in attendance.
Nadia Pierre, 36, of Schaumburg brought her young son to the festival.
“It was great,” Pierre said about the festival. “It’s always great.”
Sean Spencer, 37, of Bellwood, watched his 7 year-old son, Sean Jr., while enjoying the warm weather and fun atmosphere.
“It’s my first year coming,” he said. “It’s great and my son doesn’t want to leave. I will be back next year.”
Lawrence said the festival is the church’s way of bringing the community together. There were also various businesses and organizations that set up at the event to showcase what they were selling or educate those in attendance.
“We are pledging that we are going to better our community and that we need to be accountable for our community and village,” she said. “I think you are a better community when you come together like this.”
Lawrence noted that the event promotes interaction, which hopefully promotes positive actions in the future.
“You’re less likely to have violence, less likely to hate each other and less like to disrespect each other in any form or fashion,” she said, before adding, in a confident tone, that next year’s festival will be even better. VFP