Together 2016  -Photo: Barry Simmons

Together 2016 -Photo: Barry Simmons

Evangelicals recommitted to prayer and hope at a time of intense political and racial polarization at Together 2016.

Together 2016, a Christian revival that was attended by thousands of evangelicals, took place Saturday near the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. The Pope Francis video-promoted event was noted by President Obama as well. Evangelicals, braving the extremely hot summer day, prayed, sang, rapped and recited poetry about unity in faith. Many of them streamed into prayer tents to “reset” their lives and that of their families. They recommitted to prayer and hope at a time of intense political and racial polarization, and growing secularism. The event started at 9 a.m. and was to end by 9 p.m. However, the organizers ended it by 4 p.m. because of the extreme weather. Many people passed out during the event because of excessive heat.

Nick Hall, the founder of Pulse, who organized the event, said at the end that it was never about coming to the event but about going back with the promise of giving everything to Jesus. Pulse is one of the largest student-led evangelical movements in the country. The event, which took place in the wake of the ISIL-perpetrated terrorist attack in France and the attempted coup in Turkey saw participation from some of the major names in evangelicalism, such as preachers Samuel Rodriguez and Josh McDowell, and Christian artists Hillsong and Lecrae. And when Contemporary Christian singer Michael W. Smith took the stage and sang a song about compassion, the crowd joined him.

Christian author Ann Voskamp and poet Amena Brown called for forgiveness and reconciliation related to privilege and racism during the event. The end of the event saw a number of people pledging to study the Bible and pray more.

Joseph and Anjelica Tynes, an African-American couple, arrived hoping to hear a message of racial reconciliation aimed at evangelicals. According to Anjelica Tynes, for racial healing, a day of prayer would do more than the presidential election could.

The majority of the crowd consisted of millennials, however, there were senior citizens and families as well.

Hall, addressing the millennials, asked them to make #JesusChangesEverything trending worldwide. The millennials obliged, and last Saturday #JesusChangesEverything was one of the top trending tweets on Twitter was.

The event also saw an unusually high number of women speakers for an evangelical gathering. Prominent among them were spoken word poet Amena Brown, campus pastor Laurel Bunker, Women’s leadership minister Jennie Allen, and Christine Caine, an Australian evangelist.

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