Fun in the Son Bronx goes virtual this weekend
COVID-19 or not, the Fun in the Son brand will not be curtailed and organisers are planning a massive three-day festival of music and giving this weekend in the Bronx, USA. Having experienced the daunting effects of the global pandemic, the church group has been empowered with a special determination and purpose that only emerge in the face of extreme adversity.
“The Bronx has had the highest incidence of infections and death in the metro NY area. Amid the fear and uncertainty that hovers in the Bronx, we are determined more than ever to uplift the community with the eighth staging of the 12th District Community Engagement Fun in the Son Bronx Virtual event,” the organisers said.
Pastors Paul Peart and Gladstone Johnson from the New Testament Temple Church of God in the Bronx told The Gleaner that they are eagerly anticipating three days of Fun in the Son, through which they will spread the message of love and hope locally and globally via the virtual concert.
Their aim is to create a summer festival event that will bring a greater degree of unity to the whole community of faith.
Among those who will minister through music over this weekend are Carlene Davis, Glacia Robinson and Odayne Rhoden and the Worship Xperience. Things swing into high gear this evening with the Youth Upliftment, featuring Praise Xpressed and Matthew ‘Nextt’ Auguiste Jr, a young singer, rapper and producer from Dominica. Rev Donnie McClurkin, pastor of Perfecting Faith Church, the Rev Paul Peart, senior pastor of New Testament Temple Church of God, and Council Member Andy King will inspire the viewing audience with words of upliftment.
In previous years, Fun in the Son Bronx would be staged at a huge football field which could accommodate thousands. This year, however, in order to observe all protocols, the venue has changed. “We will be moving in-house and setting up a stage in our parking lot, so between 60 and 100 persons maximum will be on our campus at the New Testament Temple Church of God,” Peart explained. Videos and pictures on Thursday showed a hive of activity with the setting up of a stage, and also the arrival of a trailer load of food for distribution.
Fun in the Son Bronx is New York’s largest family-friendly community event, and despite embracing virtual reality, there will still be a massive dose of real giving. “The COVID-19 slammed us and many people have lost their jobs. We have to make sure that our people are provided for, and that’s where our food pantry comes in. Every week, we hand out boxes of food, but since COVID-19, the numbers have grown from 100 to 200 families weekly to between 1,400 and 2,000,” Peart told The Gleaner.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT DAY
Saturday, which will be celebrated in Jamaica as Emancipation Day, will be a special community engagement day, which will see the distribution of boxes of food, called ‘Boxes of Love’, to families in need. Peart said that there will be up to 30 distribution sites throughout the Bronx, and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST, the goal is to hand out 3,000 boxes of food. “This is real first-class food and produce. We get trailers with vegetables straight from Pennsylvania and there are also trays of the best-quality eggs. We respect and love the people and ensure that they get only the best,” Tommy Cowan of Glory Music, the founder of Fun in the Son, informed.
Pastor Johnson explained that for the food pantry, there is collaboration with 30 other churches, which also distribute to those in need. He listed key partners, among them Glory Music, Good Neighbors Community Outreach Agency, New Testament Temple Church of God, Council Member for the 12th District of the New York City Council Andy King, Kori’s Eats, IHOP, other local businesses, and faith-based organisations.
Minister Tommy Cowan and Minister Carlene Davis of Glory Music established the Fun in the Son gospel festival in Jamaica in 2002. In 2013, through the instrumentality of Pastor Johnson, who had a mandate to get the Bronx-based church “outside the four walls”, they joined in partnership with Good Neighbors and New Testament Temple to reach communities in the Bronx with a high incidence of drugs and crime.
The virtual event will stream live on the Fun in the Son Bronx’s YouTube and Facebook pages, as well as on the website www.funintheson.nyc starting at 6 p.m. EST.