TOMS RIVER – Eight churches and six parachurch/nonprofit organizations will gather at Huddy Park for “City on Our Knees,” a three-day free event Aug. 24-26.
The event is being sponsored by Haven/Beat the Streets Inc., Absecon. This nonprofit assists people in need, be they homeless or impoverished. They help with rental and utility assistance, transportation, emergency shelter, food, and information on referral services.
“The event is for anybody and everybody that’s interested in what the Christian community is doing in Ocean County, what churches are doing, and want to learn how to get plugged into a church,” Paul Hulse of Haven said. “It’s about getting people to come back to the church. A lot of people in the county, the church culture, people have a lot of barriers to it. We want them to know that going to church, believing in Jesus, isn’t so bad.”
Opening ceremonies are 3-8 p.m. Aug. 24, and will be led by Pastor Walter Healy of the Church of Grace and Peace in Toms River.
“The vast majority of Americans believe in the Christian God. It is true that many don’t attend church but they still believe in God. They’ve grown weary of the visible church but they still believe in prayer and the God who answers prayer,” Healy said. “We invite all believers to participate because we all need to see God intervene in the ills of our society and create a healthier territory.”
From noon to 5 p.m. Aug. 25, “live testimonies” will be held. In addition, there will be face painting, live music, Ampzone, and multiple vendors. Guests are asked to bring their own lawn chairs all three days.
And on Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 25, closing ceremonies will be led by Pastor Paul Gifford of First Assembly of God in Toms River.
“We feel that at this time it would be a great benefit to the community to see some light shed. By creating an atmosphere where we can pray for individuals, recognize public officials, and let the community know we’re here to help in times of crisis and times of need,” Gifford said.
“We’re here to support Paul and the ongoing efforts that he’s making in our community with being a light to those that are less fortunate,” Gifford said. “We support him monthly. We partner with him.”
The nondenominational event seeks to bring people together to bring healing to a region known as ground zero in the opioid epidemic in New Jersey.
“Obviously, prayer events are for believers in God. The scripture points out that the ills in a territory will get ‘healed’ contingent on the people of God seeking Him with all their heart. ‘2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land,’” Healy said. “Also, although there are many assemblies within any given town or city in America, the Biblical view is that there is only one church. As church refers to people and not to a building, those many assemblies sometimes need to come together in the unity of the spirit. This occasion of City on Our Knees is such a time.”
Huddy Park is located at 38 Water St.
For more information, visit havenstreets.org.