While Friday was a foggy and chilly night, community members, religious groups from different denominations, police, and political leaders all gathered on the same street corner to shed a light on the power of the holiday spirit.
The smell of warm cider and hot coco filled the air, along with the voices of a choir Friday night for this year’s Spotlight on Christmas. A community event to bring people of Peoria together through music, food, and fellowship.
“When you praise God in song, it softens one’s heart to the point where they’re more susceptible to believing that someone cares about them.” said Murion Burse, the public relations coordinator for the event.
While some shared their voices, others gave out hats and gloves. All for the goal of making sure those in Peoria know they are never alone.
“It’s all about giving love and giving,” said Anthony Randle from the Servant of Christ Ministries, “Keeping them warm, keeping them embraced. Doing the best that we can for our community.”
The different denominations all came together, using the holidays to unite as one.
“That oneness is the strongest fiber in the rope so we’re glad to be here all as one, putting aside our differences and singing all about positivity.” said Jackie Adams from Faith Ministries.
Organizers, like Murion Burse, said if the joy that was shared can be spread all year long, Peoria would be a better place.
“Crime will go down, that means suicide will go down, that means depression will go down, that means a population that is happier, spiritually healthier, and you’ll find that a community that is joyful and at peace … they prosper.”
And while they know it may not happen in one night, they are ready to take on that challenge, one song at a time.