By Christina Soto | Reporter
To start off Holy Week, the Waco community gathered at McLane Stadium to worship at The Gathering which brought over 133 churches together. The event was a bilingual service that included worship, testimonies, and prayer.
Thousands of people gathered together on Palm Sunday to worship Jesus Christ. The event was free, but donations of canned goods were accepted at the door. The donations will be given to the people of the Waco community. According to Highland Baptist Church pastor John Durham, the Gathering collected over 15 tons of cans in 2015.
The event began with worship from the 1,000-voice choir led by singers from several churches. Not only were songs sung in English but also in Spanish, representing most of the population in Waco. There were several guest speakers for the event, including Baylor men’s basketball coach Scott Drew and pastors from local Waco churches. The guest pastor, Miles McPherson, a former NFL player, gave a testimony of his life for the service. After McPherson finished preaching, volunteer prayer leaders went to the field where they waited for attendees, some who accepted Jesus as their lord and savior for the first time or needed to be prayed for.
One Hewitt couple said attending the Gathering was a real blessing. Just a couple of hours before the event, Steve and Cameron Arnold were in a car wreck, yet they were able to make it to the Palm Sunday service at McLane. Steve Arnold said they were discouraged after the accident, but the service reassured him and his wife.
“Sometimes you don’t always feel so strong, like you’re on top. There are moments of weakness and sorrows, but coming here, being all together and singing, you just get lifted up,” Steve Arnold said.
Cameron Arnold said she enjoyed the diversity of the service, and it reminded her that God is in control in her life.
“Being here, united with the Holy Spirit, with all these nationalities and different churches coming together at this time and in this moment is such a wonderful feeling. It makes me feel like God is in control,” Cameron Arnold said.
Kingwood sophomore Hannah Sulver, member of Highland Baptist Church, said she attended The Gathering because she had heard wonderful things about the first event two years ago.
“I attended because I was excited to worship along-side people from all walks of life,” Sulver said.
After the Gathering, Sulver said the service was above and beyond what she expected.
“I felt a beautiful sense of unity and pride in the Christian community of Waco. It was so wonderful to come together with people, labels aside, and celebrate Palm Sunday,” Sulver said.