Fun was the name of the game at The Ark Lutheran Church in Salisbury, as they hosted the community event Aloha at the Ark. Attendees donned Hawaiian shirts and leis and soaked in the carnival-like atmosphere, enjoying music, popcorn, ice cream, hot donuts, face-painting for the kids and a sunset dinner.
“When we saw the LLL was offering grants for their 100-year anniversary our staff were very excited at the opportunity to do something fun for our church community,” says The Ark’s Litina Tucker.
“The last few years have been very tough and we felt people needed to have something fun to look forward to that could bring the entire church community back together.”
Thrilled to be successful in their grant application, The Ark team started to plan their fellowship-based vision. The word ‘aloha’ came to mind when thinking of the party atmosphere they wanted to create, and when it was discovered that the word is not only used as a greeting but also means ‘fellowship, kindness and community’ the theme officially got the tick of approval.
“We knew we wanted an event that all members of the church could attend, so we made plans to see how many fun things we could include,” says Litina. “The grant gave us a wonderful opportunity to give back to everyone.”
Aiming to put smiles on as many faces as possible, the team booked food and coffee trucks, organised a face painter, and hired popcorn and slushie machines as well as a fairy floss maker. Picnic rugs were set up on the lawn and giant games, bubble wands and a limbo stand brought out the kid in everyone, no matter their age.
“Everyone was so happy to be together just enjoying each other’s company, there was a wonderful atmosphere and people just had big smiles on their faces all night,” says Litina.
“Someone told us it was like the old-fashioned church picnics, seeing kids running around having a wonderful time. Others said they wished we could do it every month. We could see that people have missed the sense of community that comes with food, fun and fellowship, and it’s so good for our mental health to be together again in a light-hearted way.”
Photo courtesy LLL Australia.