The Weirton Alliance Church hosted its first ever “Light of the World” Celebration at the Weirton Event Center on Saturday afternoon.
The event was inspired by 10-year-old Maria Pecchia, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last November.
Celebrities Tim Tebow and Courtney Love recorded messages for Maria and so did the kids in Kindergarten through sixth grade who were there.
Now it was a celebration, so kids enjoyed inflatables, food, a clown making balloon animals and plenty of other activities.
The Light of the World also handed out bikes and prizes every hour.
Pastor Jim Rhodes said his church wanted to do something for the children in the community.
“Every hour we are doing a huddle and we’re having a little five to seven minute speech about how the light should be one of kindness and love and respect,” he continued. “Not only they have some fun, they walk away with prizes and then there is other things they get to take home as well, some take home prizes.”
Maria Pecchia designed the shirts that were handed out.
She said she and her family are so thankful for all the love and support Weirton Alliance Church has given them.
“She immediately started getting gifts from strangers, cards from strangers,” said Maria’s father Vince Pecchia. “It’s unbelievable that strangers took her in and pray for her everyday and they’ve been helping her get through this. It’s been great.”
“They’ve touched all out our hearts by this,” added Maria’s mother Debbie Pechia. “It’s been unbelievable and we’re very happy to be here and humbled to be here. We just wanted to come here and say thank you.”
“All this love and support is just amazing,” Maria said. “I’ve been getting so many cards and it just helps me through this. I couldn’t ask for a better support system.”
Weirton Alliance does many things for the children in the community, like its Awana Program that starts this fall with games, activities, Bible lessons and stories.
“In addition to the our Light of the World event, every Wednesday we meet with the children for ages three through sixth grade,” said Awana Co-Commander Sabrina Baker.
“It’s open for everybody,” added student Rylie Baker. “Everybody has a good time because everybody is so friendly there.”
Pastor Rhodes hopes to continues to bring that light of the world more and more into the community.
The church hopes to make this into an annual celebration.