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Fourth of July in the SCV churches

Churches in the SCV get involved in Fourth of July events by connecting churchgoers and the communit

Posted: June 29, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 29, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church celebrates its 70th anniversary by entering a float in the Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church celebrates its 70th anniversary by entering a float in the Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church celebrates its 70th anniversary by entering a float in the Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade.

Fireworks and barbecues are all part of traditions for the Fourth of July holiday in Santa Clarita. Churches around the valley decided the holiday could be more than that for churchgoers and community members alike.

Some church organizations are planning events to meet the community in different ways during the upcoming holiday.

Caring for the Community

His Way Church in Stevenson Ranch connects with the community every Fourth of July by offering free drinks to attendees of the annual Stevenson Ranch fireworks display at Richard Rioux Park. The church also provides the sound system for the show.

“This is outreach to the community in its simplest form,” said Pastor Mike Valdez.
The fireworks show is hosted by the Stevenson Ranch Homeowners Association. His Way Church teamed up with the association nearly 15 years ago to participate in the event, which connects both the church and the community.

The church also sells red, white and blue glow necklaces for the event,to provide another enjoyable aspect to the festivities. Valdez said they are not trying to draw people to the church, they just want to offer a service to those attending.

“We want to place ourselves in a position to care for the community,” said Valdez.

Safety and fun

The Church on the Way Santa Clarita is hosting their annual Soakfest on the Fourth. The event is free and features water slides, water balloons, a 2,000-gallon water truck and other types of fun water play.

The community outreach event welcomes more than 500 adults and children each year. Organizers hope to offer a safe place for families to spend the Fourth of July while having fun and cooling down.

Taking place from 4–7 p.m. barbecue food will also be offered to attendees. Since the event is held at the church campus on Cinema Drive attendees can find nearby viewing spaces for the fireworks display offered at the mall.

Milestones and fellowship

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (OLPH) Catholic Church.

Prompted by Monsignor Craig Cox, new priest of the church as of July 1, Jerry Thomsen figured it would be a great time for the church to enter a float into the annual Santa Clarita Fourth of July Parade.

While building a float for the parade may be a new endeavor for the church, for Jerry Thomsen, this is his second time planning and building for a parade.

In 2011, Thomsen brainstormed the idea to enter a float in the annual Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade.

The float was sponsored by the Los Angeles County Firemen’s Benefit and Welfare Association honoring the more than 3,000 victims of 9-11.

Thomsen currently serves as a P.E. teacher at OLPH school, but is a retired firefighter. Using his experience with the 9-11 memorial float he quickly assembled a group of volunteers to help with the float.

“I thought, what a great way to bring the community together,” said Thomsen. “It’s a great way to promote a new beginning of the church.”

The float will feature a replica of the bell tower on the newly constructed church and school desks depicting the academic aspect of the organization.

“This will bring a lot of families into fellowship,” he explained.

Organizers are hopeful the float will give the church and school well deserved recognition. They also hope it will attract more attendees to OLPH’s annual barbecue festival, held this year on Sept. 19, 20 and 21.

“I think this kind of event brings togetherness,” said Thomsen. “Instead of a church being separate we are opening our doors, telling the community we are here for them, come meet us.”



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