When recording artist Sarah Reeves takes the stage shortly after 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, in Louisville, it will culminate more than six months of planning, fund-raising and praying for Rock the Park 2016.
Her appearance will launch the sixth edition of the Christian rock concert, a free event in the open air of Louisville's Metzger Park.
This year's event sits in the heart of Louisville Constitution Festival and embraces a unique role in the assignment entrusted to Louisville by the U.S Congress.
David Crowder, the Grammy-nominated Christian musician who performs simply as Crowder, is the featured attraction this year. Opening for him will be musical acts 7eventh Time Down and Reeves. Also, Jerry Birch, the chaplain of the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers, who has been called the man who inspires world champions, is slated to share his inspiration with those gathered.
If planning for everything from parking to putting up tents, assembling a stage, making sound checks, providing lodging, raising money and more sometimes seemed unwieldy, it all has begun to come together as concert day approaches, according to Larry Hinkle, pastor of Christ United Methodist Church of Louisville.
"Friends, you and God are simply amazing," Hinkle said.
Rock the Park is a partnership of 57 churches across Stark County who support the vision either through prayers, promotion, financial contributions, or all three means. Area businesses and individuals have also made generous financial investments that Rock the Park might fulfill a portion of Olga Weber's vision, especially to declare to the nation the Constitutional virtues of our first amendment liberties of speech, assembly and religious practice.
Lead planners for the concert are Hinkle and Rock the Park executive team leader Brian Grubbs, pastor of Louisville Church of Christ. The team is praying to reach 15,000 people this year.
The ministry of Rock the Park goes beyond Christian entertainment. Its focus is to create a venue and build bridges of relationship for the message of Christ. Toward that end, Rock the Park volunteers will connect anyone who asks with a church home and Christian family.
Other than the concert, Rock the Park organizers are planning a service of prayer and remembrance at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, in Metzger Park, the 15th anniversary of the 9//11 terrorist attacks. The 9//11 worship will use the same venue and stage as the concert the previous night.
The 9//11 service is a partnership of Rock the Park congregations. Churches, community and those who attend Saturday's Rock the Park are invited to attend for more music, a time of prayer and a special message.
Birch, the Cavaliers' chaplain, has agreed to stay and speak. Pastor Dan Deem of Louisville Assembly Church will combine the pastors of area churches as they join in a concert of prayer.