The pastor of Crosspointe Fellowship reached out beyond a church committee to community organizations and leaders in search of ideas to bring islanders together for an event to inspire unity.
Unity was the theme, but nothing was off the table at two meetings hosted by the Rev. Ed Moss at the church fellowship hall at 8605 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.
Moss reviewed the origin of the Nov. 16 unity event and the ground rules, but there were none. “Share your ideas and suggestions for the event,” he said, and we’ll work on organizational details after the brainstorming sessions.
Moss said the church will bear the costs for the event — that everything will be free. He wants islanders to “leave their wallets at home” and focus on being “one family.”
His basis is to build on patriotic and Thanksgiving themes to inspire community unity, as the event falls between Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving.
“What can we orchestrate which will inspire and produce growth in friendships, mutual respect, reconciliation and community spirit, and have a blast at the same time?” he asked.
The church plans to provide barbecue pork and chicken, hot dogs and all the “fixins,” but a suggestion was made to include a mullet fry. November traditionally begins the fall mullet run and another suggestion was made to include Cortez in the island community.
Discussion at the June 13 and June 20 meetings focused on how the event can honor veterans and active military service members.
There were suggestions for children’s art, a “thank you” wall of messages, a chili cookoff, speeches and plays, music and games.
Moss had an idea for a community Jeopardy game with the three cities vying for bragging rights and questions based on island history.
There were suggestions for an aerial photo with people at the event forming the letters “AMI,” a mystery game in which some people would have clues “for the asking,” and plans to incorporate patriotic lessons at Anna Maria Elementary School.
And there was much more. Brainstormers at the June 13 meeting were asked if there were any other groups or organizations that could be included in the planning stages.
Representatives attending included Mary Ann Brockman of the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce, Dawn Stiles of the Anna Maria Island Community Center, principal Dave Marshall of AME, Holmes Beach Commissioner Pat Morton, Anna Maria Mayor SueLynn, Dave Alvarez of the American Legion and many more — 17 participants at week one’s session and nine the second week.
The result was a long list of ideas for Moss and his committee to sift through and incorporate into a time frame — no time for the event was set — and more meetings ahead to fuse a plan for unity.
Crosspointe Fellowship wants to reach out now to island veterans and active military service men and women and their families to ensure they are welcomed to the Nov. 16 patriotic and Thanksgiving event.
The Rev. Ed Moss hopes to collect names and emails or phone numbers, and welcomes phone calls for more information or to provide military contacts at the church office at 941-778-0719.