Faith community helps nonprofits

Josh Cusick of Undignified sings during a concert Saturday in the War Memorial Building in Lenoir City.

A handful of churches and community leaders partnered Saturday to help raise money for two charitable organizations.

The inaugural One Voice, One God concert featured five worship bands from First Baptist Church in Lenoir City, Central United Methodist Church, Canvas Church and Rio New Harvest Church.

George Bove, Chris Clabough and Daniel Wilkins organized the concert with the goal of bringing several churches together under one roof.

“The hope behind this is to create a greater community, a more united community, a more solidified community,” Bove said. “With the leadership of these amazing churches coming together to say, ‘Yeah, we’re going to all do this together.’ That was the whole idea.

“… Music is a great uniter,” he added. “Since the beginning of time music’s a great uniter, and that’s what every church brings to the table. It isn’t a specific style of praise or isn’t specific style of preaching, it’s a great uniter of music. I think you’ll see the energizing beauty of these churches working together for one voice for that one God.”

Each band was presented by a local youth pastor.

Wilkins said he wanted to introduce people to Christ.

“The ultimate goal is to bring people to Jesus,” Wilkins said. “I just want to be a part of that. I want to grow the family.”

Although the concert was free, love offerings helped raise funds for Loudon County Habitat for Humanity and Kids First Child Advocacy Center of the Ninth Judicial District. The amount raised could not be determined by News-Herald presstime.

“Everything that we’ve done has been given to us 100% free,” Bove said. “The War Memorial Building and the streets by Mayor (Tony) Aikens and the amazing Lenoir City Council, the P.A. system and lights, Canvas Church carried all this in for us, and all their folks volunteered, and the bands all came for free. Every penny, 100% of the money, goes to the Child Advocacy (Center) and Habitat for Humanity.”

As music played 2-8 p.m., each nonprofit had tables with information set up near the building entrance. Food trucks were available outside.

“From Habitat’s perspective, this is an excellent example of what’s so wonderful about Loudon County,” Tony Gibbons, local Habitat executive director, said. “Good people coming together and bringing a way for us to uplift two nonprofits and their missions to do greater work in the community. Habitat’s pleased to be partnered with CAC on this, but especially grateful for George Bove and all of those that are tied to this for pulling together what’s going to be a wonderful, wonderful event.”

Chris Evans-Longmire, CAC executive director, agreed, adding it was first time in nearly 17 years she could remember the faith-based community coming together for a benefit concert.

“We know there are going to be lots of people here who know nothing about us, but there are going to be a lot folks here who either have experienced it and never told anyone,” Evans-Longmire said. “There are going to be kids here who know about us, there are going to be families here who need us. I think it’s a great opportunity on so many different levels, and we’re just grateful to be here, to be a part of it.”

Funds are appreciated after more than a year without fundraising.

“We’re 18 months of canceling fundraising events just because of the pandemic and just getting started with fundraising events, so hopefully we’re going to be able to cover the bases that canceled events left us short with services to child abuse victims — therapy, forensic interviews, other support services and advocacy services that victims and survivors of child abuse need that we’ve not been able to meet thus far,” she said. “We have high hopes.”