Nation's Capital Welcomes DC Festival With Luis Palau

WASHINGTON – "This weekend, our city is going to welcome the DC Festival and Luis Palau," said Washington, D.C, Mayor Anthony A. Williams during a press briefing Wednesday.

In what is expected to be one of the largest religious events ever held at the city’s National Mall, the Oct. 8-9 DC Festival with evangelist Luis Palau is anticipating the attendance of over 200,000 people.

"We are really excited here in Washington, D.C.," said Bishop Michael Vernon Kelsey, Sr., senior pastor of the New Samaritan Baptist Church and ministerial co-chairman of the festival, "and not only D.C., but Maryland and Virginia as we've seen the crossing of the lines come together."

Initiated by the African American churches some three years ago, the festival has brought together nearly 900 churches of various denominations and ethnic groups in an effort to reach the city for Christ.

The large-scale evangelistic event is a free open invitation to the entire Tri-State area, serving as a "community event," as Williams dubbed it.

"They're trying to move the community forward in this case," he added. "I think they're making a very positive contribution in our community."

Serving as a community event, the festival also takes on a "holistic approach," as Kelsey stated, in evangelism and outreach in the nation's capital.

Over 4.4 million people in the United States, Europe, the South Pacific and South America have experienced the festivals in the past five years alone. This weekend, the DC Festival is to be the largest and most comprehensive campaign ever assembled by the Palau team.

"We pray that the weather will be like today, both days," said Palau on a sunny Wednesday at the press briefing, "then, we really will make an impact."

And a positive impact, which is what the "great music and good news" festival is expected to create, is something that the city’s mayor said he was always opened to welcome.

"I think there is – you can call it – a humanitarian or an ethical or a spiritual void in the lives of our people," said Williams, "and I think any way we can try to fill that void, I think is a good thing. I do believe that."