More than 60,000 people flocked to the Great Lawn in Central Park Saturday for one of the biggest Christian rallies New York City has seen in 10 years.
The Argentinian born evangelist, Luis Palau, and his organization, the Luis Palau Association, collaborated with the growing evangelistic movement, CityServe, for three years to organize NY City Fest. With the support of more than 1,700 churches and organizations across the tri-state area, the six hour music event held the city's maximum capiticity restriction of attendees. Several artists and celebrities graced the stage including former New York Yankee Mariano Rivera and four-time Grammy Award winning artist Israel Houghton as well as other Christian artitsts Mandisa, Tobymac, Marcos Witt and Matt Redman.
Although it was free admission, the event sold out days ago. Attendees said they anticipated an amazing event but it exceeded their expectations as the lawn filled with like-minded believers. "Seeing thousands of people there today made me realize that although Jesus isn't necessarily popular, we, the Church, are very much alive and well," said Rebecca Burgos, 26, a student.
The multidenominational evangelistic event aimed to spread what Palau described in a recent interview with Fox News Latino as "the good news." Two weeks ago the Supreme Court legalized country-wide gay marriage, which sparked controversial debates within the Christian community. Many Christians took to social media to address the stereotyping and asked for reciprocated First Ammendment respect in disagreeing with the Court's decision. Some memes said, "I do not support homosexuality or homosexual marriage. Yes, I still love you. Yes, we are still friends. No, I am not condemning you to hell. No, I will not let anyone bully you."
Palau, 80, said the event's message was to show what God is for and not against. "[God] is for reconciliation, for forgiveness, for a joyful walk, for a holy life, for all the good things in life that you dream of," he said.