Kirk Cameron, TD Jakes, Gloria Gaynor, MercyMe unite to spread hope amid COVID-19 pandemic

Hope Rising
Kirk Cameron and his sister Candace Cameron Bure are co-hosting Hope Rising, streaming at April 19, 2020 |

Actor Kirk Cameron has teamed up with Bishop T.D. Jakes, Franklin Graham, Gloria Gaynor and his sister, Candace Cameron Bure, for a benefit concert event to help Samaritan's Purse.

Cameron and Bure will co-host Hope Rising livestream on Facebook at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday and 100% of the proceeds will go to Samaritan's Purse which set up field hospitals in both New York City and Cremona, Italy, to provide medical support to hospitals caring for patients during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The Hope Rising aims to uplift, strengthen and comfort the audience through music and inspirational messages to help combat the fear, hopelessness and anxiety that some are feeling during the lockdown.

The list of artists and speakers who will be featured in the hour-and-a-half event include: for King & Country, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Franklin Graham, Matthew West, Gloria Gaynor, Casting Crowns, MercyMe, Newsboys, Natalie Grant, Lysa Terkeurst, Danny Gokey, Tenth Ave North, Sanctus Real, and Priscilla Shirer.

The following is an edited transcript of The Christian Post's interview with Kirk Cameron in which he shares details about the benefit concert and the message he hopes everyone takes away from this season of social distancing. 

Christian Post: Can you share how Hope Rising came about?

Cameron: A friend of mine and I were talking about how great it is that there have been these concerts. Elton John had a big concert online with iHeart radio and it's good to be raising money to help people during this pandemic. But we thought, there's one big thing that's missing and that is, God. The one who is truly the healer, he's the greatest physician. He's our provider. He is the source of our health and wisdom. So let's put together a concert and start asking all of our friends if they'd help us.

CP: You have an impressive line up of people participating in Hope Rising, talk about putting all of that together.

Cameron: We have messages from pastors and bestselling authors and also music from some of our favorite contemporary Christian friends, and all of the proceeds go to Samaritan's Purse who are going to help the coronavirus victims and the first responders in Jesus name. 

We started asking friends, and everybody said yes. [They] all did original messages, taped them from their living rooms or their home studios, right there in the kitchen or on the sofa. My sister Candace said that she would like to help. So we're hosting the whole event together. It's just one of the largest outpourings of goodness and love and in God's grace in the middle of a pandemic.

One of the cool things is that nobody got paid to do anything with this, nobody is getting paid.

We're so excited to have Gloria Gaynor. I used to listen to her when I was a little kid on my family jukebox, singing, "I Will Survive." She loves the Lord and she sings a song called joy in the morning. TD Jakes is offering a prayer, Priscilla Shire and Lysa Terkeurst have a beautiful message.

Because everybody is still in lockdown and sheltering in place or social distancing, Candace broadcasts from her living room, and I broadcast from my living room. So we were connected by the internet. But you see us on screen together when we're hosting.

Kirk Cameron
Kirk Cameron while in quarantine with his sons, 2020 |

CP: What do you think about the global pandemic from a spiritual point of view? 

Cameron: It's always important for us to try to ask the question, "What can we be learning through challenging times like this?" And are there lessons that God has for us in the valley where people are fearful and the future is uncertain? I think there are always lessons that we can learn and I think there's always an opportunity for us to come out on the other side, better and wiser and stronger and safer than before. So I don't want to waste that opportunity. I hope that we, as a country, don't waste that opportunity to learn whatever those lessons are. 

I know that for me, I have learned to slow down and spend more time appreciating my health and being with my family. Life can be so hurried and hectic and distracted that this has caused us to make dinner at home every night, to take walks together and to read important books and to play games together, just being with my kids and with my wife. To be quarantined with the people that you love, there's actually a great blessing in it.

At the same time, our hearts break and we're grieving for those who are suffering from the virus, the doctors and the nurses who are getting infected. Those who are scared to bring it home to their kids, elderly people, those with fragile health who are really suffering from this. So it's made us pray. 

I’ve been praying every night live on Facebook and live on Instagram with a couple hundred thousand people every night, praying for the country and for our families and for the economy and the doctors, our national leaders.

CP: Your sister Candace Cameron Bure shared on Instagram Live that Hope Rising was supposed to air on a major network on Easter. What happened?

Cameron: We had a major network who wanted to wanted to air Hope Rising, and at the very last minute, just days before Easter, they decided to pull out and they didn't tell us why. But we assume it was perhaps because it was too Christian. 

Then we offered it to all the other major networks and they all said “no.” Can you believe it? During a time when people are praying more than ever, when people want to hear from God, when they want to feel His comfort and His peace. How could people shy away from people who want to pray with you, who want to love you, who want to comfort you and inspire and encourage you and give you hope through something like Hope Rising? 

It's OK though because we turn to the church and we are getting an overwhelming response from Christian radio stations and from people of faith, and all through social media. it's really a grassroots effort because it's not being broadcast on a network. The promotion for it is really up to us as a family of faith, to tell our friends and to share all of the posts and articles.

CP: What do you think Christians should be focused on doing right now in this season of quarantine?

Cameron: The most important commandment says to love God with all of your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. I think that's what we do when we pray. We pray for wisdom, we pray for each other. Then we help each other out, "Hey, do you need some paper towels, even a meal? Do you need some help paying your rent? Let's FaceTime each other so that you don't feel isolated and alone. Let's send cards to Grandma and Grandpa. Love God and love each other. That's the best thing that we can be doing during this time, and of course sharing the Gospel. 

I love the title of our event, Hope Rising, because if you think about it, what rose on Easter? Hope is what rose on Easter. The Bible calls Jesus our blessed hope. When He rose from the grave that gives us the hope of eternal life, and so this is a time for us to be sharing the Gospel with people too.

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