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June 2015 News

Easterfest is NOT dead

  • Written by  Comment: Ps. Ian Shelton
Easterfest event director Dave Schenk shares the festival’s uncertain future with the mainstage crowd Photo: Teen Challenge

COMMENT: Toowoomba City Church Senior Pastor Ian Shelton on the origins and potential future of Easterfest.

Yes I know the announcement has been made that there will not be an Easterfest next year. In the light of the information that I have, I support the decision.

However that does not mean that there will be no more “Easterfests.” 

No doubt many will have a view of what Easterfest really was, or had become over the seventeen years. So I will add my view.

The birthing of EF was a seven year gestation. It began in the capital of Fiji one October in 1990 as thousands of Methodist Fijians held there annual choir competition and filled the city with their most amazing four-part a cappella singing. Nothing like it on earth!

A few months later an aboriginal Christian, Rodney Rivers, introduced me to all that is the Tamworth country music festival. A festival that ignites a city with its music and captivates the country music fans of the nation.

Again a little later, after a visit to see the revival of Christianity in Buenos Aires,  a local Argentinian pastor made the comment that festivals reflect the culture of the city they represent. (How the Latin people love to celebrate!)

The culture of the Bible promotes God-honouring city festivals such as were held regularly in Jerusalem. A city and its people love to celebrate. Celebration is written into the human heart. What a dull community that never celebrates.

The city of Samaria in Acts 8:8 celebrated the blessings of God in their midst. I have witnessed in other nations that when God brings a blessing into a community, the leaders turn it into an annual event of feasting and celebration.

Thus a music festival was born in Toowoomba seventeen years ago. What a great journey. Now it seems to be no more. Or is it? 

God has indeed brought many blessings to our city. A thankful people will always find a way to celebrate corporately and in doing so draw others into thankfulness to the Lord for all He is and has done in our city. Even beyond that, they will extend an invitation to people from other cities to join this celebration of thankfulness. 

Music and the arts are the main vehicle of corporate expression. Let the party roll on!

Yes we could and should be aware of the problems that beset our city. Yes we should do all we can to meet the needs and deal with these problems. 

However without thankfulness and celebration we become a sterile people. A city festival is one of the main ways to draw a community’s attentions to all that we can be thankful for.

We are thankful for the beauty of the creation that we call Toowoomba. We are thankful for a well planned and maintained city. We are thankful for those who enhance the marketplace, schools and homes of the city. We are thankful for the good efforts of our leaders and influencers who work to build a family orientated community that we love to raise our children in. 

We are thankful for the many churches who draw us into the heavenly Fathers love. Who reach out continually to the needy and who remind us of justice and right living. 

How can we not celebrate a God who has revealed Himself through His Son? Jesus is more than worthy of coming into the streets for; to celebrate with thankfulness His blessings in our lives and community.

The future......what could it look like?

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