Bethesda Lutheran Church Pastor Heidi Fish has been sleeping at the church all week in anticipation of the Big, Big Block Party this Saturday, July 16.
After having to put most of its events on hold for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bethesda — located at 23406 56th Ave. W. in Mountlake Terrace — is excited to start welcoming the community once again.
“This little congregation is ready to throw their doors open and invite people in,” Fish said.
This block party is going to have almost everything under the sun: Food trucks, a dance floor with dance lessons, arts and crafts for kids, the award-winning Joy Street Orchestra, an open mic, snacks and much more.
Fish emphasized that this is not a religious event and anyone from South Snohomish County is welcome to attend, regardless of “religion, race, sexual or gender identity, age or anything else.”
“I really want people to know it’s not a religious event,” Fish said. “It’s here because we’re here. It’s the intention of this congregation to be a good neighbor to the whole community. Come party with the good folks that the lockdown kept you from meeting.”
Fish became the part-time pastor of Bethesda Lutheran Church in November 2020. Originally, she thought she was just filling in for a few weeks because the church needed help. However, she ended up staying, feeling that God had led her to the place she was supposed to be.
“I grew up in Edmonds,” she said. “And now I live in Anacortes. But coming here was sort of like coming home.”
Because she began her time at Bethesda during the pandemic, Fish has not been able to get to know the community as much as she’d like. That’s where the idea for the Big, Big Block Party came from. Fish hopes that this event will help bring people together in a time when the world seems so divided.
“If we can’t play together, if we can’t sit down and just have fun together, despite our differences, how are we going to accomplish anything?” she asked. “When people come together, things happen. Good things happen.”
Fish said this event would not have been possible without the Grace Grant the church received from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. With the grant, Bethesda was able to purchase a majority of supplies for the party.
“We are very grateful for that gift,” Fish said.
The Big, Big Block Party will start on Saturday at 1 p.m. and festivities will take place until 9 p.m. The event is free to all and Fish encourages everyone to bring their friends and families.
–By Lauren Reichenbach