Coordinated by Stephen Beasley and Tyler Brinson and moderated by founder Max Morris, the event will celebrate the freedoms enjoyed as a community and as a nation through music, dramatic readings and prayers.
Those participating in the Fourth of July celebration include Vietnam veteran Steve Orders, First Baptist Cleveland Choir and Orchestra under the direction of Tyler Brinson, pianist Jack Clark and soloist David Clark, soloist Roger DeVaughn, Homeland Harmony Quartet, Trinity Trio and others.
Connie Gatlin will direct dramatic readings. Co-pastors Dr. Allen Lockerman and Jim Gibson, Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland and the Rev. Steve Morgan will also attend.
“There isn’t another celebration like this in Cleveland,” Stephen Beasley, director of media ministry for First Baptist, explained.
“First Baptist is committed to hosting community events, like the recent Leadercast presented by the Chamber of Commerce and People for Care and Learning and Michigan Avenue Elementary School following the tornadoes. It is fitting that we host Freedom Celebration, which has outgrown other sites since its inception 15 years ago.”
The first Freedom Celebration took place at Pathway Bookstore, then located on 25th Street, with more than 600 in attendance. The celebration quickly moved to Cleveland High School’s Commons and then Peerless Road Church as attendance grew. Last year’s celebration at First Baptist drew some 1,100 attendees.
“Our country is founded on Christian principles,” Beasley noted. “This gathering allows us to celebrate what God is doing in America and in Cleveland and Bradley County. We are thankful for how God has blessed us, and this event gives us an opportunity to come together as a community to celebrate freely the blessings we enjoy.”
Beasley continued, “Memorial Day and 9/11 are tied to remembrance and reflection. Independence Day is a time to ‘strengthen our stakes,’ as Scripture says, and enlarge our thinking. It reminds us that we are a forward-thinking nation and live in a community that looks to the future.”
Morris, founder of His Hands Extended and the Freedom Celebration, will moderate the program.
He echoed Beasley’s comments. “The reason for our Freedom Celebration is twofold: to celebrate the freedom we have in America to come together to worship and the opportunity we have to practice our spiritual freedom.”
WTNB Channel 5 and Mix 104.1 will broadcast the 90-minute celebration live. First Baptist Cleveland also will live stream the service on www.clevelandfbc.com.
First Baptist Cleveland is located at 1275 Stuart Road. Doors will open at 8:30 a.m., and the program will begin at 10 a.m.
The public is cordially invited to attend.