Jacksonville, FL—On October 2, the 2013 Gracias Christmas Cantata Tour made a splash in one of the biggest cities in Florida, Jacksonville. The cool breeze and warm sunshine of October greeted Gracias Choir as it crossed over from Georgia into Florida.
-Jerry Steekloff Usher Coordinator for Florida Theater
This Christmas Cantata also coincided with “Art Walk” Day, a public art appreciation event held the first Wednesday of each month where many citizens of Jacksonville can be found out and about walking the streets. Many of them gathered around the Florida Theater once they realized the show that was about to start.
Among this crowd were several church pastors. 500 churches were given invitations to the Cantata and several pastors forewent their own Wednesday services to be a part of the performance and meet pastor Ock Soo Park.
The Pastoral Meeting and Reception with pastor Park ended at 7 PM, and participants joined the packed Florida Theater hall as Act 1, Bethlehem 2000 years ago, began. The hot weather and loose atmosphere created a harmony between the seats and stage, the audience finding themselves breathing in sync with the performers as they sang.
“I was able to be here tonight because my daughter is volunteering. Actually, I almost didn’t make it because my mother passed away a few weeks ago and I was in a lot pain in my heart. I was crying every day and couldn’t pick myself up, so it was really difficult for me to come. Still, I was attracted because my daughter was involved and it was a Christmas-themed. It was much better than I expected and it’s been a really long time since I felt happy like this. Today, I felt my heart being healed.”
-Kelly Ebanks, Jacksonville
After Gracias Choir exited the stage, pastor Ock Soo Park began preaching the Word of God by citing the example of missionary John Choi, who survived a scorpion sting while serving overseas in Liberia as a volunteer.
“Hallelujah!” “Bravo!” “Amen!”
Each time the audience heard that God made them righteous, they responded in excitement. The louder the cheers got, the more we could feel them getting fired up through of the Word.
-Maureen Ambrose, Jacksonville