Everyone in the area of Highway 50 and Anderson has eagerly awaited the opening of the roundabout, perhaps no one more than the adjacent Grace Community Church (GCC).

To celebrate, GCC is hosting a Neighborhood Block Party, Saturday, Sept. 21. From 5:30-7:30 p.m. there will be free barbecue pulled pork, live background music, inflatables, kickball and other family-friendly activities.

GCC is not asking for business sponsors or outside volunteers for the event. Rather they see it as an opportunity to provide for others through the people of the church. There will not be any tickets or need for registering, said GCC Office Manager Janelle Paden. “Just come and enjoy.”

Folks are requested to bring lawn chairs or blankets. The event will be held rain or shine, with the party moving inside if needed.

GCC is expecting 600-700 attendees, including people who call the church home. While the church will be distributing fliers in the area between Highway 50 and 24th Street who were most affected by the roundabout construction, everyone is welcome. “We want to love on our community,” said Pastor Kyle Shanbacher.

Shanbacher is the new Worship and Community Life Pastor who moved to the neighborhood on July 1 from Kearney, Nebraska. He has led worship for the last 15 years. A fan of Switchfoot, he loves the art of song writing and has been in two bands. “I love to exalt the Living God in worship and love getting to know people in an authentic 'bare your soul' type relationship!”

Shanbacher and his wife, Mary, have three children, ages 8 to 1. “We are really excited to be here.” He noted that he has noticed many young families live around GCC, so the Neighborhood Block Party will be geared towards family fun.

On a deeper level, Shanbacher said they view the event as “an educating opportunity for our people to reach out and connect, to extend the love of Christ.” GCC wants to train and equip folks to go outward, instead of waiting for people to come in and check it out. Shanbacher talked about developing trust in friendships, walking with people through the hard times in life, making them inquisitive about what faith is.