NORWICH — cvFree Church will be holding their annual cvFree in the City concert this Sunday, June 11 at 11 a.m. in Norwich's East Park, with musical guest Winona Avenue.
The event will kick off with a performance by the cvFree Church Worship Team band, followed by a message and prayer time led by cvFree Lead Pastor Jen Westervelt.
"What we offer is always going to really align with our mission, so our mission is ‘to make Christ connections with ourselves, our church, and our community.’ So we welcome the opportunity to actually be downtown, because of course our main campus is out of the city limits. So it’s great to be downtown," said Westervelt.
"It'll just be a really casual time of sitting, people can bring their bag chairs and a snack if they like, and they can just chill and take it all in. And certainly families, individuals, everyone is welcome to come."
Several local organizations, such as Fidelis and Aunt Mary's House, will have tables set up during the event to provide information as well as games and activities for kids.
cvFree Church has also combined their monthly "Cram the Cruiser" event with cvFree in the City. A Norwich Police Department cruiser will be parked to collect breakfast food donations for Helping Hands, a local nonprofit that provides food, hygiene items, and cleaning supplies to those in need.
The main event of the day will be a performance by Winona Avenue, a musical duo made up of brothers Daniel and David Deputy of Indianapolis, Indiana.
The pair are inspired by 2000s pop punk and 2010s pop rock, to create their own unique blend of alternative rock and synth pop. Their music uses electric guitars and synthesizers, along with lyrics penned by frontman Daniel Deputy, to impart messages of positivity, encouragement, and hope.
“I choose to write music that can encourage the listener,” said Daniel. “If I didn’t write lyrics that could make a positive difference in the listener’s life, then I’d feel as if I was doing a disservice to the listener. I believe in building others up instead of tearing others down, and music is a tool that can serve this purpose.”
Winona Avenue merchandise will be available for purchase at the event, and Westervelt said the brothers have also allotted approximately 45 minutes after the show to engage with the audience, take pictures, and sign autographs.
"They’re very interactive with the audience. So they love to have their pictures taken and talk to people, sign things, all of that. So they’ve allocated another 45 minutes at the end just to hang out and engage with people," she said. "They really love our community, actually. They have spoken very highly of that."
Westervelt stressed the event is open to the entire community, whether they are attendees of cvFree Church or not.
"cvFree Church is here to interact with our community. We want to connect with Christ and connect our community to Christ. And even if people aren’t yet believers, there’s just something about being able to serve our community, love on our community, offer something quality. That’s where our heart is, is for improving our community," Westervelt explained.
"You don’t have to be a Bible-believing Christian to be able to come and engage with this. This is an event that’s open to all and we would love to have everybody come join us," she added.
In addition to cvFree in the City, cvFree Church offers several community events and supports, including their annual Prom Closet, which provides prom dress, suit, shoe, jewelry, and accessory rentals for a refundable deposit to local students. This year, the cvFree Prom Closet was able to provide 17 dresses and one suit to local promgoers, and had three Norwich students attend their pre-prom Get Ready With Me Day.
"We’re looking forward to growing that program even more," said Westervelt. "We have settled on some of these areas where we know we can do well and meet a need for our community. So cvFree in the City is one of those, Cram the Cruiser with the Helping Hands, and then also the Prom Closet. So it’s cool to be able to bring all of these things together within a month of each other."
More information on cvFree Church can be found at cvfree.church and on the cvFree Church Facebook page. More information on cvFree in the City can be found on the cvFree in the City 2023 Facebook event page.