REGINA — Regina Archbishop Donald Bolen was one of several Christian clergy to address participants at the fourth annual Praise in the Park, held Sept. 9 in Regina’s downtown Victoria Park, amid a day threatening rain and the bustle of the Farmers’ Market held in the same location.
Bolen emphasized common beliefs among Christians that should allow the different faiths to act together in prayer and witness to the faith, though he acknowledged that some differences do prevent the faiths from doing everything together. “What we do hold in common should allow us to pray together, to give thanks to God together, and to engage in the Lord’s mission to the extent that we can.”
He continued with a prayer to bless all the Christian faiths in the city: “Help us to find new and creative ways to pray together and give thanks to your name. We ask you to help us stand up for human dignity together to find those places in our culture, in our city, and our province where we need to stand together to protect the rights of people. We ask you to help us serve the common good, to reach out to the poor together, to find ways to join together in dialogue, to learn more about each other and from each other.”
He noted a group just outside the park who were gathered in support of the Rohingya Muslims being persecuted in Myanmar and prayed to bring justice to the land of Myanmar. He then introduced Vision, a Catholic praise band, and joked that Catholics are known to be fans of Gregorian chant, “but I assure you what you are about to hear is not Gregorian chant.”
Praise in the Park ended Love Week in the city, put together by an organizing committee made up of representatives from the Regina Evangelical Ministerial Association and the Regina Council of Churches. The purpose is to bring glory to Jesus Christ in the public square and to demonstrate the essential unity of the Body of Christ.
Pastor Graham Beke, an elder associated with the Regina Apostolic Church, spoke to the crowd and the rain held off, as he said it would. Beke said he asked God to delay the rain from a threatening sky and was confident it would not rain. And it didn’t, except for a few drizzles as the day went on, but there was no interruption of the schedule.
It was a full day of activity in the park, all of it free. The men’s ministries from the Regina Apostolic Church cooked and served pancakes in the morning, switched to baked beans and curried rice in the afternoon, and then hot dogs at the supper hour. An air-filled slide provided entertainment for young children. A line of tent cubicles to the side of the park provided information about a wide variety of Christian organizations, including pro-life and a Christian motorcycle club. A small prayer tent was set apart from the activity.
The day featured non-stop music from praise bands from a number of Regina Christian churches, ending in the evening with a performance by The Informants, a blues band from Denver, Colo. The music was upbeat, with a mixture of rock, pop and blues, all praising God. The audience was sparse initially but grew as the day went on and the music had people clapping along to the beat. A couple of young women occasionally danced to the music in front of the stage, swirling large red and blue ribbons.