By Rehanna Ramsay
It was an uplifting sight, last Friday as thousands of Guyanese converged at the National Stadium Tarmac, Providence, to participate in a gospel show.
The concert branded “Hope is Rising,” a Celebration of Life, was geared towards tackling a number of social issues including suicide, violence, poverty and unemployment.
The event organized by US-based Pastor Reverend Joseph Persaud and his team was touted as the biggest gospel concert in recent years.
The concert attracted some 17,000 patrons, some of whom arrived an hour early to get a good seat to watch the show. However, concert-goers spent most of the night on their feet singing, dancing and fully participating in what was described as a worship session led by some of the leading local, regional and international gospel acts.
The tarmac was blanketed with people from across social and ethnic differences who patriotically waved small replicas of the Golden Arrowhead, or switched on the lights from their cellular phones to symbolically show their stance against suicide, poverty and unemployment in the nation.
They belted out the lyrics of the popular single “Pillow Could Speak,” by Guyanese talent Saiku Andrews, and two- time Grammy nominated and multi -stellar award winning gospel singer, Travis Greene’s “Intentional,” both of whom received the crowd’s approval for the renditions.
The crowd was also fully entertained by the energetic performances put on by Trinidad and Tobago’s Sherwin Gardner, US- based Jamaican Cassandra “Cassie” Keise, Emrand Henry of St Lucia, Yonnick Adolf, Guyanese Anil Azeez and Pastor Eon Greaves and his choir Synergistic Blends and the Salt of the Earth Dance Group and the Witz Dance Group and Nicasey Abrams with her poetic piece the “Spoken Word.”
Several of the artistes, lifted up prayers and positive declarations over the nation.
In his brief address to the crowd, Pastor of Liberty Church NYC, and Founder of “Hope is Rising,” Joseph Persaud stated the vision behind the movement is to bring an end to suicide, violence, poverty and other related social issues affecting the nation.
He said that the concert was realized through collaborations and support from local promoter and entertainer, Kester Dean, the Ministry of Social Protection, GTT and a list of local pastors and churches.
Persaud expressed special thanks to GTT for their corporate sponsorship in helping to bring the artistes to perform in Guyana.
He acknowledged the pastors, businessmen and women, politicians and those who used their influence to bring an end to the social ills.
Hope is Rising is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) which was established in April of this year and is an arm of the Philia Foundation, which has been in existence since 2008.
Led by Reverend Persaud, it is a ‘faith-driven organization’ that works along with various churches, the government and the public sector. The aim of the institution is to cooperate with other institutions to eradicate poverty and suicide in Guyana through the creation of jobs.
In previous ventures, the association was able to provide jobs through Qualfon and the Ministry of Social Protection, who implemented a ‘job bank’ to help persons find a job that matches their qualifications.
The organization is also bent on decreasing the alarming rate of suicide in Guyana. It has collaborated with the Ministry of Social Protection to move Guyana from being labeled as one of the countries with the highest rates of suicide.
Hope is Rising promises to be not only one with a difference, but one which will transform lives.
It was organized by Christians in Guyana who have recognized the need for an intervention and cooperation between the church and the government to eliminate suicide.
Part of the proceeds of last Friday’s concert will be donated to the Hope is Rising charity.
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