PORTLAND — Can people from culturally diverse backgrounds unite in the name of Jesus?
Absolutely, say organizers of an annual festival in the Rose City that aims to demonstrate that belief in a very public and meaningful way.
The third annual International Praise Festival comes to downtown Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square on Saturday, Aug. 8 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.
Purpose of the event is to see the local church as one and the city reached by the gospel of Jesus Christ in that unity, while at the same time appreciating each other’s cultural differences in worship.
The festival is based on a recognition that an increasing number of the city’s churches represent a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
“I believe that International Praise Festival was birthed out of a vision from the Lord,” said the festival’s treasurer, Apostle Victor Alvarizares of Casa delPadre International Church, during one of two promotional luncheons held recently in Portland in advance of the event. “It’s truly an international praise festival. We tell the (participating) groups, do it according to your language and culture.”
The festival will provide a colorful mix of praise and worship music; cultural dance and music; family fun activities,including a giant slide; exhibits on community resources; and a consistent message of the hope found in Jesus Christ.
There will be distribution of free school supplies and backpacks, and free snowcones and popcorn. Food vendors also will be on hand.
International Praise Festival is organized by Living God Church, Oasis of Praise International Ministries, City Blessing Church, Casa delPadre International Church, St. Johns All Nations Church of God in Christ and New Day Family Church.
Additional sponsors are Multnomah University, the Luis Palau Association and the Christian Chamber of Commerce of the Northwest.
At one of the promotional gatherings, which was held on the university campus, Multnomah President Craig Williford said the purposes behind the festival are right in line with the school’s desire to better serve the various ethnic expressions of the local Church.
“Multnomah is delighted to be a part of this,” he said. “It’s just wonderful.”
Alvarizares said the event is in its third run because the sponsors believe that the Lord not only provided the vision for the festival, but also the resources to make it happen.
“It’s amazing to see what God is willing to do, if we just say yes,” he said.
In fact, he added, organizers and sponsors have a bigger long-range vision for the festival, which has thus far drawn about 1,000 people each time.
“We want to outgrow Pioneer Courthouse Square,” he said.
For more information about International Praise Festival, phone 1-866-915-1918, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.IPFest.org or to the event’s Facebook page.