Groups unite for Praise Fest

The muddy ground of Sadler Lawn did not stop more than 50 students from following Lady Michelle Nurse as she led the crowd Sunday night in “flowing,” a continuous free-form dance for Christian worship.Saturday marked the second annual Christian-focused Praise Fest, a daylong event that included a morning conference and an evening concert.

Praise Fest was organized by several Christian and intercultural and inclusiveness organizations on campus in order to promote this year’s theme “One Day, One Place, One Body.” Holly Dacke, a junior entrepreneurial management major and Praise Fest committee member, said they chose the theme in order to promote bonding of all the Christian organizations.

“We based Praise Fest off a need to see the campus come together,” said alumna Feleceia Benton, master of ceremonies for the concert. “When you see a need for something, God gives you the desire to act.”

The Praise Fest committee raised more than $5,000 through fundraisers, raffle tickets and selling T-shirts promoting the event, and the remaining $15,000 of the $20,000 budgeted for the event came from donations from local churches, Intercultural and Inclusiveness Services, Programming Council and University Ministries, said Kelly Krammer, a junior social work major and Praise Fest committee member.

The four-hour morning conference consisted of praise and worship through song, dance and prayer as well as “Digging Deep” workshop sessions led by several local pastors and community members. About 30 people, mostly TCU students, attended the morning conference, which provided student-oriented information on how to unify Christian believers.

“The conference is really encouraging,” said Ryan Hambley, a junior middle school education major. “I think Praise Fest takes faith to another level.”

Praise Fest also focuses on a philanthropic cause such as last year’s Invisible Children campaign and this year’s One Campaign to raise awareness to end poverty and the spread of AIDS. Krammer said the One Campaign complemented this year’s theme.

The evening concert, which was from 6 to 10 p.m., featured local Christian performers of several different gospel and rock genres, as well as Great Commission Mime Team, TCU’s Soul Steppers and Calling in Action Christian Dance troupe.

“We hope, by having different genres, people could plug in to what they like while experiencing new artists at the same time,” Krammer said.

Angela Kaufman, minister to the university, spoke to the crowd of about 100 people on the One Campaign as well as Bread for the World, a nationwide Christian movement to end hunger. Performers also were supportive of the event’s promotion of poverty awareness. Singer-songwriter Andrea Thomas sang about living on less than $1 a day in her song “Jesus Love.”

Katrina Grote, a junior biology major, said she enjoyed the concert because of the variety of acts.

Krammer hopes to involve more variety in the acts next year by including more genres and cultural influences such as Latin and Asian worship styles.