Bishop Farris Long shares vision to unite community. Photo by Vivian Shipe

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — Bring the community together, giving a sense of hope and blessings. That is the charge of Bishop Farris Long as he works to complete a project given to to him; a vision of a work started back in June.

Dubbed the Community Block Party, Bishop Long first had to get a buy-in from his neighborhood. The event will be held on his street and with an over whelming yes vote by his neighbors and the city council, the event scheduled for October 23 from 12 till 4 is a go.

The goals of the event are numerous, build rapport and trust between the community and the school, involve the churches around the school, and show appreciation and  value for the administration, teachers and students of Austin-East.

It’s a day and a space of no judgement, only love. Long said he is going to do it the way God gave it to him. There will be music, line dance teams, even a performance by the Austin-East performance arts marching band. There will music by DJ Von and a special performance by Tyler Robinson out of Chattanooga.

Food trucks will line the street and a special family rate will allow a family to purchase tickets to get different types of food. A percentage from the food truck donations will be given to Austin-East as scholarship money for this year’s seniors.

It will not be a day of speakers and sermons, Bishop Long said, “The best sermon is seen.” He envisions those participating to share their personal testimonials with the students who attend to show there is hope and a way out of any situation.

“We are finding a way to make a difference, by creating an atmosphere of non-violence, a sense of community and showers of blessings as we show the love of Christ.” Bishop Long said with enthusiasm.