Gulfport church encourages family time

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Gulfport church is kicking off the new year by encouraging people to make time for family in 2009. Hundreds of people turned out for Northwood Christian Center's First Day Fest.

John Aliston enjoys spending time with his children his Alyssa and John but he says finding family friendly activities isn't easy especially around New Years.

"There's just not a lot offered I think especially on a day like this," said Aliston. "Most of us get off work so we have something to come out here and do and have fun."

Hundreds of people spent the first day of 2009 at First Day Fest at Northwood Christian Center. The Gulfport church usually puts on a carnival at midnight New Year's Eve.

Rev. Van Ducote said "We decided this year to put it out in the community, put it in the day time and invite all the family within a three or four mile vicinity of the church. Just to be a blessing to them. Just to help them. We want to spend time with the community."

The pastor says the carnival is more than bean bag tosses and grilled hamburgers. It's about mothers, fathers, sons and daughters spending time together. Rev. Van Decote because families need to stick together.

"It's very important," said Rev. Ducote. "I think how goes the family is how goes the nation. So we need to do our part to keep families oriented around in other in simple activity. Now days, we've got so much elaborate stuff going on that we almost lose track of relationships. We want to break it down almost old fashioned to have a day together as a family. "

People here say it is nice to be in a place where people from different walks of life can come together and enjoy themselves.

Saul Hernandez said " It's nice to see people, you know like families together, enjoying life and their kids and having a good time."

Northwood Christian Center provide all the carnival games and food to community free of charge.