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Crowd gathers on park hill to celebrate Jesus

Sharon Honeycutt performs. Sharon Honeycutt performs.

Gathered under a striking blue sky on a perfect fall afternoon, more than 200 people swayed to gospel bands and praise music and heard ministers call them to worship and faith during the first Celebrate Jesus event at Jackson Park on Sunday afternoon.

"To see the beautiful people and feel the unity, this is what we need to start revival in our community — the unity of spirit," said the Rev. Mike Engle, minister at First Wesleyan Church and one of the organizers of the event, sponsored by the Henderson County Ministerial Association and the Carolina Baptist Association. "We're seeing it in our young people, we're seeing it in our churches. I can't thank God enough."
Thanking and praising God, and exhorting the people sitting and standing on a gentle slope to put their faith in Jesus, singers and ministers performed, prayed and preached from a flatbed trailer. More than 15 singing acts, youth skits and messages by ministers were scheduled. The sound system was provided and maintained free by Todd Russell.
"We've got a terrific turnout," said the Rev. Bill Campbell, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church, a leader of the Ministerial Association and one of the main participants among a core group of ministers. "The spirit is so positive, it's hard to imagine not doing it again. One person gave her life to the Lord already.
"I've heard people say they were going to stay a half hour and leave — they're still here. People are just being really moved by the Lord. They're gripped by what God is doing."
The Rev. Anthony McMinn asked the gathering, "How many of ya'll know this is not our home? We're just pilgrims passing through. I look forward to eternity," he said. "We're in an election year but I'm not depending on Barack Obama. I'm not depending on Mitt Romney. I'm depending on Jesus."
Organizers provided free snow cones and popcorn and a concession stand sold barbecue sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs. Older folks brought lawn chairs, families sat on picnic blankets and many believers stood, their arms raised skyward in praise.