Rolling Hills Church in Overland Park hosting ‘Love Your Neighbor’ series on justice issues

Bassel & The Supernaturals
Bassel & The Supernaturals. Photo courtesy of Rolling Hills Church

Later this month, Rolling Hills Presbyterian Church in Overland Park will kick off its second annual “Love Your Neighbor” series, three events designed to celebrate diversity of culture, music and arts and discuss issues of social justice — even as the concept becomes political.

A fellowship gathering at the end of one ‘Love Your Neighbor’ event last year. Photo courtesy of Rolling Hills Church

Rev. Laurie Anderson said the church is addressing justice issues through the event as the church hopes to shed light on “love and diversity.” Each event in the series will showcase poetry, music and theatre/film.

Anderson said today’s climate around justice issues has shifted and that churches are perceived to be discouraged from addressing those issues.

“There seems to be this perception that any time — especially from the church’s perspective — that justice issues are mentioned, they’re also just thrown in this pile of ‘Well, that’s political; that’s not the church’s problem or response,’ which is the farthest from the truth,” Anderson said. “Any simple assessment of who Jesus was when he came was to change what was going on in society. So it’s very much, I think, the church’s place to address justice issues.”

Each event includes a fellowship gathering for attendees to connect with performers over a meal.

While the events are free to attend, the church is accepting donations to benefit a different local organization. The series raised nearly $8,000 last year for local organizations, she said.

Here is the schedule of events, which are all free and open to the public. All of the events take place at Rolling Hills Church, 9300 Nall Ave.

Jessica Ayala and The Collective

Jessica Ayala and The Collective
Jessica Ayala and The Collective. Photo collection courtesy of Rolling Hills Church

What: A tribe of poets and percussionists passionate about preserving the spirit of African and Native American drum.
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21
Donations go to: KTraditional Music Society, an organization that teaches drumming to youth, mostly in the urban core, with a focus on the development of community cohesiveness through the study of music and dance.”

Bassel & the Supernaturals

What: A band that combines funk and soul with captivating lyrics about love, loss and a war in Syria that has affected Bassel Almadani’s family along with 10 million others.
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7
Donations go to: KC for Refugees, an interfaith organization that helps refugees who have been forced to flee their home countries and settle here in the greater Kansas City area.

“The Unafraid” movie

What: “The Unafraid” follows the lives of three DACA students in Georgia, a state that has banned them from attending its top public universities.
When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11
Donations go to: The Clinic, an organization providing assistance to low-income individuals and families in the midst of immigration removal proceedings within the legal system.