A gift to Laramie

For the fourth year running, the folks at Whitewater Christian Church have teamed with a local charity to host an alternative rock Christmas Eve concert.

This year, the featured charity is the Downtown Clinic, an organization that provides much-needed care to low-income and uninsured Albany County residents, Whitewater Associate Pastor Craig Johnson said.

“It’s just a time when everybody can come together and accomplish something meaningful and have a great time doing it,” he said. “The concerts are a blast.”

Whitewater Vision Pastor Adam Coop said his church exists to serve an often overlooked segment of society.

“Whitewater is here in existence to move people two steps closer to Jesus,” Coop said.

“That’s our mission statement. We are here to serve a grossly underserved population of people, mainly low-income families, people that may not fit in other churches or other places — the riff-raff.”

As part of this mission, the church teams up with a charity who serves a similar segment each year for a Christmas Eve concert.

In the past, Whitewater has collaborated with Interfaith-Good Samaritan, SAFE Project and Climb Wyoming, using the concert as a way to raise funds or supplies for the featured organization, which receives 100 percent of the donations.

“We just really want to side with organizations and raise awareness of who they are, what they’re doing and get the community behind them and say, ‘Look, these organizations make the community better — we invite you to make this community better with us,’” Coop said.

Whitewater also pitches in its own donation to each organization.

“This (concert) is one facet of what we’ve done for Christmas, and the other thing we do is raising funds in-house — specifically as Whitewater — to contribute to SAFE Project, Climb Wyoming and everything else we’ve done,” Coop said. “It seems like we keep adding things, and it just keeps growing.”

Attendees to the concert at the Gryphon Theatre might be surprised by the music featured, Johnson said.

“It’s alternative rock style music, so it’s a little bit different than what people are used to in terms of tradition,” he said. “But some people really like that, and it’s the style of music we have on Sunday mornings at Whitewater.”

The hour-long concert will be performed by Whitewater’s own musicians.

“For people that listen to alternative rock Christian music, they’re going to recognize some of this,” Johnson said. “For people that don’t, they’re going to recognize some of the titles of these songs, but they’re going to be surprised that they don’t sound like the traditional renditions of those songs.”

Johnson added he is excited for Laramie to come together, help a nonprofit organization and enjoy an alternative rock Christmas concert.

“It really is a neat thing when the community comes together to have a great time together to really accomplish some good,” Johnson said. “The idea is it’s about Laramie — it’s not about Whitewater. This is a great town that we live in, and we get to love each other through these kinds of events.”

Whitewater’s Christmas Eve at the Gryphon concert starts at 4 p.m. Sunday in the Gryphon Theatre. The theater is located inside the Laramie Plains Civic Center, 710 Garfield St. The concert is free, though donations are requested.

Go to www.whitewaterchristian.com for more information.

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