Freedom Life Center in Pleasant Hills to host community outreach event

| Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The non-denominational Freedom Life Center in Pleasant Hills is preparing to host its first “Rock the Block” community outreach event from Sept. 13 to 15.

“We just wanted to have a fun, safe environment that families could come and enjoy,” Pastor Jeff Winters said. “Last year, we did Vacation Bible School and we wanted to do something different.”

The three-day event will feature attractions ranging from a pet parade to tug-of-war and even sumo wrestling. Visitors planning to enter contests such as The Newlyweds Game, cornhole and a sack race must register in advance online.

Winters founded Freedom Life Center three years ago after he and his wife, Michelle, returned to the U.S. from the Republic of Congo, where they were missionaries. About 180 members attend services.

“We've grown out of the building already,” Winters said, referring to the building that at one time was a Baptist church, and later was New Wine Harvest Church before that congregation moved to Baldwin Borough. “We serve residents of Pleasant Hills and Jefferson Hills. We're really in the heart of the community.”

Connie Rostosky, the congregation's creative arts director, said Freedom Life Center planned the outreach because leaders “wanted to do something that would be far reaching into the community. We wanted it to be our gift.”

Events at the outreach will begin the night of Sept. 13 with a family movie under the stars at 8 p.m., and glow-in-the-dark bowling in the church parking lot.

“We really wanted to show young people that spirituality and church can be relevant in their life,” Winters said.

Most attractions will be free, Winters said. So far, 60 congregation members have volunteered to help at the festival.

Carnival-style foods, including hot dogs and hamburgers, will be available.

On Sept. 14, an international food court will feature dishes from Mexico, Africa, China, Italy and Poland. Gluten-free dishes will be available. Meals purchased in advance of the event will be $5, with a $1 discount.

“The charge for food is because we are hoping to recover a little bit of the costs,” Rostosky said.

Sept. 15 events will consist of a 10 a.m. outdoor service and a potluck picnic. Freedom Life Center will provide all meat dishes, but community members are asked to bring side dishes, Rostosky said.

Former Steeler Pete Rostosky, who played on the offensive line from 1984 to 1986, will patrol the church grounds. He now works with a church youth group.

“Hopefully,” said Connie Rostosky, “I can talk my husband into signing autographs.”

Brittany Goncar is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or

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