(Photo: Luis Palau Association/Brian Long)
International evangelist Luis Palau joined the Capital Christian Center in Sacramento, Calif., Sunday to announce the start of his "Season of Service" campaign that seeks to inspire the city's residents to log in three million community service hours this year.
The campaign was promoted ahead of the annual "March for The Dream" in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., which starts Monday morning in Sacramento, KCRA 3 reported. The event is described as the "largest multi-cultural march in the region," and reportedly drew 20,000 people during the 2011 event.
One of the organizers of the march, Sam Starks, said: "What we do is provide space for folks to remember the past, but celebrate the future." He added: "Folks are dealing with real issues today."
Around 4,000 people gathered to hear Palau's service at the church Sunday night. Palau was joined by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson in promoting the "Season of Service" campaign.
The campaign's organizers hope to bring together civic, corporate, and church communities "to serve the city together." According to Palau's website, the event will "culminate in a 2-day festival event expected to reach tens of thousands with the Gospel." The festival, scheduled for June 16-17, is free and open to the general public.
"When you think of Dr. King: faith, service, love thy neighbor, and one of our goals in Sacramento is to be the most caring city in the country," Mayor Johnson commented during Sunday's service.
The "Season of Service" campaign will focus on areas of education, hunger, homelessness, health and wellness, serving the under-served and at-risk groups as well as neighborhood revitalization. Organizers offer an "emphasis areas guide" for interested volunteers.
Palau has organized the "Season of Service" campaign for four years, in six cities.
Luis Palau and his ministry have reached over one billion people through evangelistic events and media, according to his official website, and he is said to have spoken in person to 30 million people in 75 countries. His work includes close to 50 books, articles and publications on issues of faith, and he has counseled business and political leaders from around the world.
His latest book, Changed by Faith (2011), examines the redemptive power of the Gospel and the role God plays in people's lives.
Others from around the country are also participating in projects to help honor Martin Luther King Jr. and his accomplishments – according to the The Associated Press, President Barack Obama and his family will be participating in a community service project on Monday.
On the eve of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, the president and his family attended a service at Zion Baptist Church in Washington D.C.
In a nationwide campaign, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, marking the 25th anniversary of the federal holiday, is also encouraging people from around the country to serve their communities for a day. Volunteers can simply enter their ZIP code and find opportunities going on in their area. The project is part of the "United We Stand" initiative, which was created to help meet growing social needs resulting from the economic downturn.
Correction: Monday, January 30, 2012:
This article originally reported on Jan. 16, that a two-day festival event was scheduled to be held Jan. 16-17, 2012. It is in fact scheduled to be held June 16-17, 2012.