By Danielle Wellborn-Taylor
What has started as a small but mighty group of friends wanting to get involved in a more public way, is sure to evolve into a crucial part of the Belton community. The camaraderie and love were palpable upon arrival of Praise In The Park. It is a kid, and even dog-friendly event. Also in attendance were Eddie Ross and Alton McCallum of the Clergy-Police Partnership.
Before the service started children of all ages could be seen running around and playing basketball, football, and soccer. The service started with The Binion, and Miller families of Lifeway Fellowship in Killeen leading an uplifting round of songs and worship. It was followed by a sermon from Lifeway Fellowships’, Andy Binion, which was titled “What Is Holding You Back?”.
The event was started a month ago by Joe Bonnilla and JT Hahn of Armor of God Outreach in Killeen. Armor of God Outreach is a ministry that offers services to the homeless, and underprivileged in the community. They have also started a local youth sports program, and soon hope to work with juveniles within the Belton and Harker Heights Municipal court systems. They say they will also soon start to help clean up the park areas. Hahn says it isn’t just important for the community, and that it is, “vital with so many churches failing”. He went on to say that their inspirations came from, “[wanting] to get out of the walls, and into the street, and reach the young people”. So far they have about four churches involved and hope to get more.
Bonilla says starting this event required a large leap of faith. He recalled the previous Praise In The Park, in which they thought they would be rained out as they prayed for the inmates in the jail across the creek. Instead, after the rain quickly passed, a complete double rainbow appeared right over the jail. Bannilla said it gave them, “reassurance we were doing something right”, and went on to say that, “you can already see it’s impacting the community”. Their crowds and notability are increasing by the week, and it’s easy to see why.
Praise In The Park occurs every other Sunday from 6:00-7:30 PM at Yettie Polk Park. The next Praise In The Park will be September 25th, and will showcase Elder Eddie Ross from the Shiloh Worship Center in Belton. This event is perfect for those looking for an unconventional twist on traditional church settings, and those looking for more community involvement. Anyone with questions, or wanting to get involved with Praise In The Park can find more information online at ArmorofGodOutreach.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.