Central Baptist’s annual Tu Dia set for Saturday

Hispanic females, women and children alike, enjoy cosmetics in the Fellowship Hall of Central Baptist Church of Bearden during last year’s Tu Dia celebration.
Knox County’s Hispanic women can count on the outreach of a handful of West Knox County churches, with one annually hosting a celebration of culture in the name of Christianity one Saturday each spring.

Central Baptist Church of Bearden, 6300 Deane Hill Drive, is preparing for Tu Dia, a special day of music, food, information and “pampering” for Knox area Hispanic women, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 21, in the church’s Fellowship Hall.

In 2010, “this other Christian and I, Anna Garlington of Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church, we were very concerned about the Hispanic women in the community who had little support and little connection with the Anglo community,” said Joyce Wyatt, CBCB member and event co-founder. “So we dreamed up this idea of having Tu Dia,” which means in Spanish, “‘it’s your day.’

“But also, since we are faith-based and Christians — she was from a different church here in Knoxville — we wanted it to be ‘God’s Day’ also,” she added. “It is a bringing together” of the Hispanic and Christian communities.

“It’s been a blessing to their lives. … These women look forward to this. … I think it is unique.”

Another benefit, Wyatt said, “Is we begin to have relationships with these people that otherwise we might not have.”

During that first Tu Dia, “I think there were about 80,” Wyatt said about Hispanic women participating, with that number roughly the annual attendance through successive years.

“Last year we had about 30 children. … We have a program for them,” she added. “… And we offer child care.”

Tu Dia begins “in good Latin form, with music,” Wyatt said. “And then we have a speaker. And every year we’ve tried to have a speaker … who would be helpful to the women. This year it’s on depression and anxiety, and we bring in the spiritual aspect as well as the medical.”

This year’s speaker is Christy Stewart, nurse practitioner at Hope Resource Center.

As for activities, “Someone from Friendship Church is coming to (lead) Holy Yoga,” she said. “They’ll have some exercises for stress reduction.

“Following that we’ll have our information fair,” Wyatt added. “We will have probably 15 to 20 tables around the room that will have information from organizations here in our community that can help Hispanic families. We will have things on (English as a second language), the (Knox County) Health Department, the school system.”

After lunch is served, “We have pampering,” such as neck and shoulder messages,” Wyatt said. “We have students come in from Roane State Community College with their professor. They are studying to be masseuses.

“And we have fingernail painting for the women,” she added. “And we have make-up. The women enjoy those three aspects of pampering.

“And then, while that’s going on, we also have four different tables where they can do crafts.”

The church spearheads “a committee from different churches that prepares the program,” Wyatt said about the seven-member body, which includes two Hispanic women.

“We begin meeting in January to plan this, trying to do it as close as we can to International Women’s Day, which annually takes place March 8,” she added. “We’re later than we’ve ever been.”

As for her qualifications, “I have a special love for the Hispanic people because I have worked with them for so many, many years and wanted to reach out to them,” Wyatt said. “And I’ve lived in Latin America and Spain for over 40 years.

“I feel like I am one of them.”