‘When Springfield Sings’ seeks to bring community together at Summer Arts Festival

The Nehemiah Foundation has relaunched its annual “When Springfield Sings” Summer Arts Festival event at Veterans Park with the goal of using music, dance, scripture readings and prayer to foster a more conducive environment for unity and racial harmony in Clark County.

“We are coming together with the sole purpose to unify,” said Amy Willmann, the nonprofit’s executive director and also a local pastor, of the event that will be held at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 18.

Willmann and Urban Light Ministries President and CEO Eli Williams will be co-hosting the event and The UNIFIED Worship Collective will lead songs of worship and thanksgiving, some familiar and some original. Agape Dance Company will also add to the evening with worship through dance and flag presentation. Resource tables will focus on organizations providing next steps for unified work in the community.

“We feel the combination will bring fresh anointing, bringing us together around these issues that have historically tried to divide us: theological, political, social and racial,” said Willmann. “We know the enemy of our souls knows that unity brings power, and that power advances the kingdom. It shouldn’t surprise us that we have these obstacles.”

Williams agrees with Willmann, adding that there is no better time to unify in our community.

“Eleven o’clock on Sunday mornings is still the most segregated hour in America,” Williams said. “Unfortunately, the political climate in the last few years has caused a further dividing of Jesus followers. Christians in our local area must be more committed to bringing believers together regularly for fellowship.

“Together with Nehemiah’s UNIFIED Worship Collective, the Simunye clergy fellowship and other local initiatives, Clark County believers are taking small, but important steps toward harmony,” he added.

Music will be the foundation of this event for good reason, says local worship pastor Aaron Clark, who will be leading the UNIFIED Worship Collective band.

“Music is a gift that The Lord has given us that has the awesome power to bring all people together,” he said. “It doesn’t matter the race, age, or gender. We all love good music! God’s word tells us in Psalm 100:2, ‘Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing.’

“Through music, we have the ability to lift our voice in appreciation for what the Lord has done and share a message of hope,” he continued. “That’s what we plan to do; lift our voices together in unity to worship the Lord for the great things He has done. That unity will produce power, resulting in a fresh sound that will glorify and please the Lord.”

Music will also serve as an invitation for confession.

“We can’t blame everything on the devil,” said Willmann. “It is also our wounds, our lack of trust of one another, and that’s valid. Lack of trust comes from how we’ve wounded one another and then we build walls to protect ourselves.

“I think it is important as we come together that we acknowledge those things, that we lean in, and listen and lament … and even repent,” she continued. “I love the idea of us being awake and alert. This is not just a little sing along in the park. Because of the last year and a half of division and trauma, I believe this is the kind of event to help our community heal, to regain hope, to build bridges and say ‘I’m sorry. How can I be a help?’ This is a way for us to love our neighbor.”


What: Nehemiah: ‘When Springfield Sings’

Where: Veterans Park, Springfield

When: 8 p.m. Sunday, July 18

Admission: Free; donations accepted

More info: www.SpringfieldArtsCouncil.org.

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