‘Saturday in the Park’ Welcomes Students

College-age students from across the state are invited to attend the fourth-annual "Saturday in the Park," a day-long back-to-school celebration Aug. 30 hosted by Oklahoma Baptist University featuring games, a Battle of the Bands, food and a time of praise and worship. More than 500 students are expected to attend.

The event, following the theme "Rejoice," will feature musical artist Jami Smith, worship duo Shane and Shane, and guest speaker Brad Fogarty. Park-style games such as ultimate Frisbee, volleyball and "four square" will begin at 1 p.m. at Woodland Park in downtown Shawnee. The Battle of the Bands begins at 1:30 p.m., with the worship event beginning at 7 p.m. Students can attend the games, Battle of the Bands and worship event for free. Hamburgers, hot dogs, sodas and other food items will be available for purchase beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Organizers say "Saturday in the Park" is a multi-purpose event: It combines a "welcome back to college" celebration, a concert for students, and a "God-focused launch" into the semester through praise, worship and a biblical message. The celebration also serves as a closing event for OBU's Fall Challenge - a spiritual emphasis series of activities which begins each fall semester.

Fogarty is returning to OBU at the request of students who heard him speak in a campus chapel service last fall - students who expect him to bring "the kind of challenge from God's Word needed at the beginning of the semester," said Dale Griffin, OBU campus minister. Smith and the group Shane and Shane also have been requested due to students' popular demand, Griffin said.

"Saturday in the Park helps to set the tone for relationships, worship, community, and personal spiritual focus the first weekend of the semester," Griffin said. "It provides a platform for students to hear some of the finest worship leaders."

The Battle of the Bands is an open-invitation event. Griffin said musical styles can range from bluegrass to heavy metal. There is an entrance fee for bands, and the winning band will be honored before the evening concert. Interested bands should contact Rick Cordova at rick.cordova@okbu.edu. Space is limited and bands will be selected based on variety, skill level and purpose.

Griffin said the event also provides an opportunity for students to grow in their leadership skills, as a large team is needed. Co-chairs for this year's event are OBU students Veronica Pistone, a junior from Blue Springs, Mo., and Cody Bryan, a sophomore from Spencer, Okla.

For more information, OBU students are encouraged to contact the event co-chairs at veronica.pistone@okbu.edu or cody.bryan@okbu.edu. Baptist Collegiate Ministry groups throughout the state can contact OBU's Campus Ministry office at 405-878-2377 or email tanya.ritchie@okbu.edu.