Christian leaders rallied together during Jesus Week held in the heart of New York City at the same time as LGBT pride month, and even though a storm threatened to shut it down the show continued and those in attendance say the spirit of God drew men and women to their knees.
Jesus Week kicked off on May 25 with Christian leaders going into every borough in NYC to pray, help the poor, and minister in schools and troubled neighborhoods. The initiative concluded on June 29 with a large event in Times Square.
A stage was set up on 43rd Street in Manhattan with banners raised pointing people to Christ and urging them to prayer for the city. LGBT World Pride billboards were displayed on many of the neighboring buildings and city officials were concerned that the Christian event would face backlash from LGBT activists. But those involved in organizing the event testified that they had the opposite experience.
"This was the second opportunity we have been given to hold this event at the largest media platform in the world: Times Square," Pastor Dimas Salaberrios, president of The Dynamic Life, told The Christian Post. "Gospel music transcends culture, age, gender and race. We were trusted by the city to hold our event on the same weekend of [LGBT] World Pride. The event was full of love, testimonies and incredible worship."
"People from every walk of life joined in the celebration as the quality of great art knocked down all walls of separation," Salaberrios said. "The unity out there was epic! It was fantastic to represent the Gospel in a way that isn’t always portrayed, which is of Jesus ministering to the masses, not just those already in the church. Our gathering was not political or confrontational. Our event was all the best that Christ offers which attracted me to become a Christian," he added.
Among the musical guests at Jesus Week was Christian singer Alma Rivera who shared her powerful ministry experience with CP.
“The Jesus Week finale coincided with the [World Pride] events in New York City. The mayor's office and police were concerned about any potential disruptions to the event. [But] during sound check large crowds gathered and the only disruption that occurred was the thousands of people clapping and enjoying the music,” Rivera told CP on Wednesday.
“What I felt was the presence of God very strong, bringing conviction to the people. I witnessed the power of salvation. While I was singing I was looking at all the billboards with the LGBT advertisements, and it was powerful to worship God in the middle of all of that,” she said.
“A couple of homeless men crossed 7th Avenue to where we were located, walked up to the front by the stage and dropped to their knees crying, giving their lives to Jesus,” Rivera added.
Thousands, including many youth, were engaged in worship and dancing, she recounted. Along with Rivera other artists who participated included Freddy Washington, Eagles’ Wings, and the Nyack choir.
Although every other musical event held in Midtown Manhattan that day was shut down due to the weather, Jesus Week was able to continue, allowing numerous people to hear and respond to the Gospel.
“While this was happening, a group of us were praying in the hotel, looking at those clouds, speaking the Word of God, praying for open heavens. About 40 minutes later, the sun started to show up, pushing out the darkness!” Rivera declared. “Very little rain fell in our area and we were able to continue an hour after we were told to stop.”
Rivera was very stirred by the event and said she “really believes the Holy Spirit touched” the lives of many in “a mighty way.”
Tom Maharis, Dimas Salaberrios and David Beidel all shared the Good News toward the end of the concert and captivated thousands who walked through the city.
In addition to the grand finale concert, the five weeks of Jesus Week helped distribute millions of available resources, including thousands of Christian children's books, Christian devotional books, and DVDs.
For more information on Jesus Week or further initiatives, click here.