On the heels of yesterday’s National Day of Prayer observances will be an evening of prayer and praise tonight, with individuals from a number of local faith communities coming together for a celebration of faith.
“Ascend: A Night of Worship” is slated to start at 7 p.m. Friday night at Henderson Metro Church’s new property on North Evenside Road, right across Texas Highway 64 West from Henderson High School.
Plenty of live music will be on the agenda, bookended by times of prayer led by local ministers, as well as a brief message from Metro Church Pastor Billy Paul Cain.
While there will be no cost for admission or formal offering taken up, donations are welcome. Attendees are also encouraged to bring lawnchairs or something comfortable to sit on at the outdoor venue, as the event is expected to last about three hours.
One of the organizers of the event is also the headlining performer: Christian musician Shana Strange, who said that she hopes “Ascend” will be the launching point of a series of such events in the surrounding area.
“The Lord has just given me a desire in my heart to help bring nights of shared worship all over East Texas, and obviously I wanted it to start here because this is where I’m from,” Strange said. “Anyone is welcome to come, regardless of denomination or church affiliation. It’s a chance for all of us to come together because of what unites us and putting aside whatever might divide us.”
Events are also scheduled in Carthage, Athens, Longview, Marshall and Tyler.
Strange has worked in different capacities of worship service for the better part of the last twelve years, taking a brief hiatus in 2006 to work with her husband, Bro. Cameron Strange, in the founding of the House of Refuge Church in Turnertown where the couple lives with their young daughter.
While her husband pastors the church and she leads the musical aspect of services, Strange said that their greater ambitions are to help strengthen communities by helping to rekindle the “kingdom values” as set forth in the Scriptures: the virtues of service towards others and true fellowship.
“A lot of people have been very receptive to this so far, we’re working with as many people who want to participate to put this on,” Strange said. “But ultimately it’s just about uniting together to praise Him.”
There are no less than five churches confirmed to participate in the event, with those in attendance expected to span the multitude of Christian perspectives in the greater Rusk County communities.
“It’s not about us, or me, or what we are trying to do,” Strange said. “It’s all about what God is doing.”
Strange, a Rusk County native, has received acclaim for her songwriting and vocal abilities at such competitions as the Gospel Music Association’s “Music in the Rockies,” as well as various regional talent competitions.
However, despite her accomplishments and notoriety as one of the rising stars in Christian music, Strange said that her ambitions remain more closer to home than the Christian music “Mecca” in Nashville
“I think most Christian musicians feel that they have to leave to be successful and, I have to admit, that I wanted that too in the beginning,” Strange said. “But now I believe that this is where I am supposed to be, and that God places us where He wants us to work to honor and glorify Him with our lives.”
The key to this, Strange says, is in worship.
“In order for us to do what He wants us to do, we have to understand how we are connected to each other and understand how we’re all connected to Him,” Strange added. “He pours out His spirit, and draws us all together.”