Unity Fellowship Community Church of Orangeburg is looking to promote cultural diversity in the spirit of food, fun and fellowship during its first Taste of Unity event.
The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, at the church located at 1852 Joe Jeffords Highway.
Various churches will be participating in the event, including Iglesia Cristiana De Avivamiento, First Baptist Church of Orangeburg and Unity Fellowship. Embark Church of Orangeburg will also be represented at this year’s event.
Organizer Felicia Lawrence of Unity Fellowship said the outside event will include dishes from the Hispanic, Indian, Caucasian and African-American communities, along with music, games and team-building exercises. Face painting and bounce houses will be among the children’s activities, while seniors can enjoy bingo games.
"The whole goal is to bring folks together from different paths and use food as a way of doing so. Food has always been a conduit to do that. But, of course, we're gearing up with ice-breakers and team-building games just to kind of make sure that we don't remain in our little groups, but get out and mingle and get to know each other,” Lawrence said.
“A lot of activities have been planned to ensure that we get to know our neighbors no matter what their nationalities and backgrounds are,” she said.
The Rev. Jerome Anderson, pastor of Unity Fellowship, said, “Because of the divisiveness of our country, it’s so important that the Christian community come together and just be a model of what unity ought to be like. It’s a calling for us to stand and do that now.”
“We have to start the process of understanding and appreciating our differences so that we can begin to show more unity,” Anderson added.
Ana Harrell of Iglesia Cristiana De Avivamiento said she and members of her church will be singing during the event, noting that she believes the event will be a good way to bridge divides among cultures.
“The pastor let us use the church here. We started like three or four months ago and we wanted to get to know more about each other. It’s a wonderful chance to get to know each other and share different cultures,” Harrell said.
Dee Dee Prickett of First Baptist Church of Orangeburg said, “We have a group that does mission trips like to Haiti and different places. And, so some of those persons get a feel for another culture. But this will be an experience for the persons who don't get to travel on those trips. I encourage them to come. It's not a matter of what your skin color is. We all bleed red, and that's kind of how we need to think about it."
Padma Duvva, who attends Unity Fellowship, said she and other members of the Indian community will present the Indian National Anthem at Taste of Unity. She said the event can educate members of the community about other cultures.
“We feel this is the best time to share our cultures. I notice most of the kids where I teach don’t know about other cultures … . They have no clue about the other countries’ cultures,” Duvva said.
Lawrence added, “It's funny because I really think the idea of this is to see how much alike we are. I think that’s what we're gonna get out of it. I think that's the whole goal.
“But if it's something that's so different, fine. I spoke with Padma, and she was saying, 'I cook with really hot spices,' and I said, 'Now, I like really hot food, but my body won't allow me to do that anymore.' So we laugh about that, but there’s a lot of similarities in the ingredients of most of the foods.”
She said the ultimate goal is to hold the event on a quarterly basis.
Lawrence noted, “We want to pass the ball. If another church would like to take it and put a twist to it -- it doesn't have to be food, it would be wonderful if we could keep this going on a quarterly basis. That would be awesome."