Word of Life Free Community Carnival draws record crowds

By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief

Word of Life Church in Sand Springs hosted their fourth annual free community carnival Saturday afternoon to huge success. Approximately 5000 people turned out for the event, the largest turnout since it began, to enjoy free food, rides, and giveaways.

Word of Life is a non-denominational congregation founded in 1981 by the late David Emigh, and is currently pastored by Chad and Sarah Stewart who took the reigns in September of 2011.

In 2013 the Church held its first annual Free Community Carnival, a dream that Pastor Chad Stewart had been working towards since he first arrived at the church. For the first three years, the event was held at the end of summer, shortly before the fall school session began. The church would give away thousands of backpacks full of school supplies and a team of professional stylists would offer free "Back-to-School" haircuts for kids. 

In 2016 the ride company that the church had been using announced it was in the process of liquidating its equipment, leaving the church searching for a replacement. After locating the Oklahoma-based Sam's Amusements, the church had to move the event to Memorial Day weekend due to the ride company's packed schedule. Instead of looking at the change as an inconvenience, the church is counting it as a blessing and an opportunity to improve the experience for everyone.

This year's Carnival featured more than half a dozen rides of varying sizes and had dozens of games and other activities, as well as free popcorn, hotdogs, lemonade, and shaved ice from local company Sandlot Snoballs.

On Sunday morning the church gave away ten checks of $500 each to guests at their services. Each of the recipients were noticeably touched by the gift. One first service recipient had lost a daughter in 2010 and was still unable to afford a headstone. A second service recipient had just lost her job two weeks prior. Other winners included a single mother of two trying to return to college, and an elderly couple who was barely making ends meet while living on social security.

In other news, the church announced the hiring of a new children's pastor last Sunday in Oral Roberts University graduate Alexis Muscarella.

The church holds two services each Sunday at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. and is located at 1402 North 81st West Avenue. Wednesday youth services are held at the Forward Youth Building at 619 East 10th Street at 7:00 pm under youth pastor Chad Ketcher. 

This story was originally published in the Sandite Pride News Weekly Sunday edition.