A year ago, Brian Thiessen and his wife, CaRanda, saw their dream of launching a church come true.
Sunday, they will mark Pathway Church’s first birthday with a huge celebration.
Thiessen said the non-denominational church, which began with no members, now has more than 115 and is growing.
The church meets each Sunday morning inside the Yukon High School cafeteria beginning at 10:30.
“While many churches see attendance decline during the summer, ours surged. We grew more over the summer than ever. We have a lot of momentum going right now,” Thiessen said.
The minister said the celebration of the congregation’s first year is going on throughout September.
Last Sunday, Kona Ice greeted everyone attending the service with free snow cones.
This week, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s OG&E trailer will be on site, there will be barbecue from Smoked-Out Barbecue, several inflatables, cotton candy and a petting zoo, Thiessen said.
“The community has been great to us, so we have a lot of stuff for the community,” he said.
The church sent out more than 30,000 invitations through the mail.
“We want to go big. One thing, it’s not about us,” he said.
For each dollar the church spends on the celebration, Thiessen said, another dollar will be donated to an area organization or to an individual.
Activities going on later this month as part of the celebration include a giveaway of gift cards to a local restaurant, a visit from the fire department and a giveaway of passes to Celebration Station.
The church also has adopted Independence Elementary School.
Thiessen said each month, members of the church are working with teachers in various pods to find out how they can help and what the teachers need.
“Church should be more like a party and less like a funeral. We want to celebrate and have fun,” he said.
“We knew before we started the church that Yukon is an amazing place. It is a very warm, very open community,” Thiessen said.