New Castle News

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August 26, 2013

Soon-to-launch church offers community a free afternoon of food and fun

NEW CASTLE — Call it a free sample.

There was no charge for anything — not the hot dogs, not the face painting, not for having your picture taken with a superhero or a princess — on Saturday afternoon at Gaston Park.

For three hours, City Reach Church offered all that, as well as a free bounce house, sno-cones and cotton candy to help illustrate what it’s all about. The church — one of six to be launched Sept. 15 by a national church-planting network — has been out canvassing its neighborhood and offering community outreach events like Saturday’s to introduce and explain itself.

Mark and Sheila Bupp are heading up the effort. Their congregation will worship at 11 a.m. Sundays in an existing church building at the corner of Long and Cunningham avenues, but the Bupps say the church’s true identity will be seen in the streets, where members plan to minister to, and meet the needs of, struggling residents.

They even have their sights set on the East Side facility where they held their weekend outreach.

“One of our dreams is that we will someday be able to revitalize Gaston Park,” Mark Bupp said. “We’ll fund it, bless the city. It’s not about putting our name on it, but going in and putting in a brand new playground, fixing up the pavilions, redoing the ballfield, maybe putting in a basketball court — making it a place where these kids can go and play.

“We just want to give back to the community, and to be known as a giving church.”

(News Lifestyle editor Dan Irwin will profile the Bupps and their new church next week.)

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