What started out as a “worship protest” over pandemic-related shutdowns of church services in California became an effort to spark a nationwide revival, and Kerrville got involved in a big way on Sunday.
Event organizers estimated 4,500 to 6,000 people walked up to the cross-topped hill overlooking the city for “Let Us Worship,” an hours-long event featuring songs and worship led by Sean Feucht, a music evangelist from California. Just how many people were there is unknown, but organizers arrived at their estimate based on the number of the cars parked nearby and video shot by a drone.
Since pandemic-related infection control measures shuttered many churches in California, Feucht left the state and has been on a mission to keep people worshipping.
It didn’t take long for The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden parking lot to fill up, but that didn’t dissuade people from parking along the roads leading to the site and hiking up the steep slopes. Hundreds of people came from out of town for the event, said Debbye Meszaros, executive director of The Coming King Foundation, which owns and operates the garden atop the hill.
“It was by far a huge record-breaker for us,” Meszaros said of the attendance.
It was also the largest maskless event in Kerr County since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, but opposing some of the restrictions related to COVID-19 has been a driving point of Feucht’s brand of religious and political evangelism.
While there is a mask order in place in Kerr County, Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order provides an exemption for those participating in worship service. There’s also no social distancing limitations for worshippers.
On stage at Sunday’s event, Feucht spoke to the huge crowd of the internet jokes and memes going around about how 2020 has been such an awful year — a year of pandemic and associated economic effects, social unrest and violence, as well as political acrimony.
“Tonight, I want you to know that the Lord is flipping the script on this year,” Feucht said. “The Enemy has overplayed his hand,” to which the audience responded with yells and applause.
Before Feucht performed, the crowd enjoyed other musicians and speakers.
Meszaros said more than 100 people were baptized that day in the fountain at the Coming King Statue, which depicts Jesus Christ riding a horse and bearing a sword. At one point during the event, Max Greiner Jr., who created this statue along with others at the site, presented a copy of the same sword to Feuchts. The sword is called “The Sword of the Spirit” and serves as “a visual reminder of the fact that we have a weapon to use against the power of the Enemy, which is the Word of God,” Meszaros said.
Fuecht spoke of other recent mass-gathering worship events held around the country in defiance of various laws intended to slow the spread of COVID-19, including an Aug. 8 event in Portland, Oregon.
Fuecht spoke of pushing forward with plans for that event despite the concerns of Christians who worried about safety in light of the social unrest and violence there.
“(I told them) 5,000 Christians are going to show up and they’re going to take a stand in their city, because they are tired of seeing it burned and destroyed,” Fuecht said, which garnered applause and cheers.