Thousands of people representing multiple languages, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds gathered last Saturday in New York City’s Central Park in a beautiful display of unity to lift high the name of Jesus.
NY CityFest at Central Park with Luis Palau was a fitting capstone to NY CityServe & CityFest – a historic campaign that reached more than 180,000 people in person through more than 115 events in one of the most influential cities in the world.
“Jesus is alive tonight in New York City,” shared Palau.
“This is such a beautiful scene of people coming together under a common cause,” shared New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as he greeted the crowd from the stage. “CityFest is now part of our history. You are showing how much communities of faith contribute to civic life.”
Also joining Palau in proclaiming the Gospel to the thousands in attendance were Andrew Palau, Mariano Rivera, Mandisa, TobyMac, Amanecer, Matt Redman, Rescate, Marcoss Witt, Hezekiah Walker, and surprise artist Chris Tomlin.
Just days before NY CityFest at Central Park, two other major events were held as part of NY CityServe & CityFest: NY CityFest at Radio City Music Hall and NY CityFest at Times Square.
On July 7, NY CityFest at Radio City brought a powerful message of hope to one of the nation's most iconic and recognizable landmarks. Luis Palau, Andrew Palau, Third Day, Amanecer, David Garibaldi, and Newsboys joined the ranks of legendary performers who have graced Radio City’s stage. Hundreds of people from New York City and surrounding areas packed the venue, and thousands more tuned in via live webcast and a live broadcast through ministry partner Enlace.
Then, on Friday, July 10, Luis Palau, along with Eric Metaxas, TobyMac, Matt Redman, Mandisa, and Amanacer, took the Gospel to the middle of New York City, in the heart of Times Square, where thousands of people were packed together so tightly that the only way around was through a narrow walkway on either side of the Square.
“Salvation is a beautiful thing,” Palau shared from the stage. “We want all of New York City to know that God loves them, and will save them from their sins!
“I’ll give you an opportunity, right here in Times Square, to give your heart to God!” he added.
According to the Luis Palau Association, Luis and Andrew Palau invited people to give their lives to Christ three times throughout the three hours of stage time. Each time, they invited those in the audience to raise their hands if they had made a decision for Christ. Each time, hands shot into the air – some from the center of the crowd, but some from the outskirts, including passersby who had just happened to stop and see what was going on.
Kevin Palau, who had plans to meet up with a friend in Times Square, shared: “I rounded the corner and thought, wow, that’s a lot of people! I felt like I was in church… yea, it was like there was church in Times Square!”
Over the past several years, the Palau Association, led by Kevin Palau, has collaborated with hundreds of NYC church and nonprofit leaders for a historic effort to love and serve New York City in the name of Christ as part of NY CityServe & CityFest, an initiative organized by the Palau Association.
The goal of NY CityServe has been to identify, develop, and nurture church-connected, neighborhood-focused collaborations throughout the boroughs of NYC focusing on the areas of justice, mercy, and education. Dozens of localized evangelistic outreaches were carried out as part of the effort following the initiative’s official launch last September. In partnership with the Palau Association, the outreaches took place across the Tri-State area, culminating with NY CityFest at Central Park.
“CityServe has come to New York City much like God sends his angels,” remarked Jennifer Jones Austin, Chief Executive Officer at Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies and member of the NY CityServe Executive Team.
“How fortunate we are that Luis Palau has brought this to New York City,” she concluded.
By NRB Staff
PHOTO ABOVE: Luis Palau and Matt Redman greet the crowd in Central Park. Photograph courtesy of the Luis Palau Association.
Published: July 16, 2015