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Local churches rally for ‘Summer Jubilee’

SMOKEY POINT — The Jake’s House Prayer and Worship Center drew a packed house on June 28 at 6 p.m., as members of close to 15 different local churches came together for the second of two rallies for this year’s “Summer Jubilee.”

This event marked the second of two Marysville and Arlington-area events, held in June, that have been focused on building unity among the city of Marysville’s churches. The first of these was the “Pulpit Swap,” which saw pastors from several different churches visit one another’s congregations to serve as “guest pastors.”

On June 28, members of more than a dozen churches gathered to prepare for the “Summer Jubilee,” an annual community event which will take place Aug. 8 this year, at the Tulalip Ampitheatre.

The “Summer Jubilee” was started more than a decade ago to provide school supplies for children in the community who otherwise would have been unprepared for their first days of school. Turning Point Community Church Pastor Mike Villamor noted that the event began “with hand-outs to 50 kids in our basement,” but by last year had managed to draw an estimated 12,000 attendees.

“The police estimated we had 15,000 attendees, but our clickers at the gate only showed about 10,000, so we split the difference,” Villamor said. “We expect as many as 20,000 this year, though.”

Villamor praised the roughly 800 volunteers who helped stage the event last year, as well as the generous sponsorship and support of organizations ranging from businesses like Roy Robinson and Wal-Mart to public entities such as the Marysville School District and police and fire departments, as well as the Tulalip and Stillaguamish tribes.

The total cost of last year’s event was nearly $90,000, most of which went into giveaways of school supply sets to 5,000 students, including 25,000 pencils, 15,000 pens and 10,000 glue sticks, at a cost of nearly $18 per student. Close to 900 free haircuts were also given away.

“More than a dozen different churches and pastors work all year long to put this together,” Villamor said. “It’s exciting to be able to share God’s love in such a tangible and practical manner.”

Each of the churches that participated in the June 28 rally is playing a part in this year’s “Summer Jubilee,” ranging from planning, funding and promotion to providing volunteer manpower to serve the nearly 20,000 attendees expected at the “Summer Jubilee.”

Every part of the event is free of charge, funded by the churches, businesses and other organizations that choose to contribute, including a free hot dog barbecue, cotton candy and sno-cones, live music, entertainment and gigantic bouncy houses for kids to play on.

Villamor admitted that the current recession caused the participating churches to consider scaling back the scope of the event, until one of the pastors asserted that “there’s no more important time for the church to step up than now.” Villamor acknowledged that it’s more difficult than before simply to maintain the same level of service, given the budget cutbacks that each participating church has experienced, but he echoed the importance of continuing to help out as many people as possible “as a statement of God’s love.”

The June 28 rally included worship services led by a team made up of members from several different local churches, words from several local pastors, prayer time devoted specifically to the “Summer Jubilee,” and a special offering for the event, as well as an opportunity for volunteers to sign up. Villamor explained that would-be donors and volunteers can still pitch in for the Aug. 8 “Summer Jubilee,” either by contacting the pastors at their own churches, or by logging onto www.summerjubilee.info, a Web site which includes a video of last year’s “Summer Jubilee.”

Villamor recalled how receiving new school supplies had made him eager to return to school each year as a child, and hoped to instill that sense of excitement in the students of today.

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