LEWISTON — What started as Bible study discussions earlier this year turned into a full-blown Christian concert Saturday night in Kennedy Park.

“Sometimes, people have a hard time coming to church,” said Shannon Gamache, 32, of Auburn. “Then, you have to bring the church to them.”

Gamache’s Pathways Vineyard Church, working with the East Auburn Baptist Church and the First Assembly of God Church on Hogan Road in Lewiston, hosted The Bridge, a family-friendly concert.

It featured regionally known Christian performers Joel and Janna with special guest Cody Degraft. Organizers brought along an inflatable bounce house for kids and hosted face-painting and contests, such as sack races.

The concert got its start in Gemma Osborne’s Christian bookstore, Divine Oasis on Minot Avenue in Auburn. A group of women, attending a Bible study, began talking about hosting some sort of a special event.

“We talked about doing something bigger,” said Kimmie Teehan, 40, of Turner. “We talked about hosting some coffeehouses, with music, and then someone suggested Kennedy Park, and it just grew from there.”

Calling the event The Bridge has meanings on many levels, they said.

“It means bridging the distance between Lewiston and Auburn, but also bringing our message downtown,” Gamache said.

Osborne hoped The Bridge would become an annual event.

“And it will, God willing,” she said. “After all, God did all of this; I didn’t. This is all God’s doing.”

A young Somali boy, his hair painted green and red from one of the event’s booths, interrupted Osborne: “God told you to do all this? How? In your head?”

“Yeah, he talks to me all the time,” Osborne said. “He talks to everyone. He probably talks to you, too.”

The boy thought that over for a minute before he responded: “Well, my god is a Somali god.”

Osborne smiled and patted the boy on the back.

“This is why we do it,” she said.

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