Community churches host block party

Four local churches have come together, shutting down a city street, to host a free block party for all members of the Kirksville and Truman State University communities. 

Kirksville City Council unanimously approved the churches’ request to shut down Mulanix Street for the event during its Sept. 16 meeting. The hosts — First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church, First Christian Church and Trinity Episcopal Church— will be providing food and entertainment at the event Oct. 6 from 12-2:30 p.m.   

Sarah Mohler, event planning committee member, said the block party started as an idea from First Presbyterian’s outreach committee. The first church they thought to partner with was their nearest neighbor, First United Methodist. 

“It so happened that they were having the same idea, but they just hadn’t acted on it yet, so when we contacted them they got really excited about it,” Mohler said.

The date of the event happened to be on World Communion Sunday, which Mohler expressed made the event more special. 

After that, Mohler said, the idea continued to grow and they reached out to more churches on Mulanix Street, including First Christian and Trinity Episcopal. She explained that the block party has taken a lot of coordination, with meetings beginning in August, because none of the churches have ever tried to do an event like this. 

The weekend of the block party is also the celebration of the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, who was known for creating an ecological emphasis on Christianity. 

“Trinity Episcopal Church often does a blessing of the animals, and so as part of the event they wanted to coordinate the blessing of the animals with the block party and so we thought, ‘That’s amazing,’” Mohler said. 

Mohler explained that the blessing of the animals is to honor the roles that pets and animals play in our lives. 

Mohler said First United Methodist is known for its youth programs and its children’s musical programs, so they seemed to be well suited to organize the children’s activities for the event. 

“First Presbyterian, I think what we’re really offering the event is really just the impetus of getting it going,” Mohler said. “We did the paperwork, we coordinated the churches and things like that.”

All of the churches will be providing food in a potluck fashion, so partygoers can walk up and down Mulanix to sample food, play games and interact with one another. 

From 1-2:30 p.m. local band Deadwood will be playing in the gazebo at First Christian.

Clifton Kreps, Deadwood guitar player and vocalist, said several members of the band attend churches that are involved in the block party and that is how they got involved. Most of the members are part of the Truman community, as well.

“We kind of have a Truman identity in a sense, but I think of this as more of a community thing and … it’s part of just trying to support the arts of Kirksville and the creative life of Kirksville,” Kreps said.    

Live music, Kreps said, tends to get people up and moving, so he hopes Deadwood will do that for this event.  

Mohler said the planning committee would love to see the block party become an annual event.