The weekend crowd at the Portland, Ore., waterfront park came for the party.
Games and entertainment for the kids, music from some of the finest contemporary Christian groups and an invitation by evangelist Luis Palau to live a life of faith in Christ.
It was in this same park, nine years ago, that Palau launched his "Great music! Good News!" festivals. But this time the crowd had an extra reason to celebrate-- the conclusion of a massive community service project sponsored by more than 600 area churches.
Over the past six months this "season of service" project attracted 26,000 volunteers--about twice the number expected. The volunteers cleaned up yards and repaired and painted schools. Medical personnel conducted free health clinics for those without adequate health care. Volunteers connected the homeless with resources to get them back on their feet. Others helped staff summer feeding programs for the children of needy families.
And as nearly 300 service projects came to a close, the people of Portland joined thousands of service volunteers for Luis Palau's massive river-front festival. An estimated 185,000 people flocked to two-day event.
Among the crowd were dozens of visitors from other cities, observing the success of the Portland project. Palau is hoping the example set there will prompt churches in many other cities to start their own season of service campaigns.