Hope Festival 2019 – Press Release

Antwerp, September 14, 2019

Gospel music and speeches were heard as far as the Grote Markt. The stage was filled with as good as professional bands who complemented the varied and encouraging speaking sessions. A powerful gospel performance was the peak of the festival, spreading from the crowded Groenplaats to all sides of the city. “Who are we here for?” was the of question of MC Katia Van De Broeck to one of the gospel singers on stage. Conservative couples, a lot of young people and a coctail of nationalities, culture and ages were among the visitors and on the dance floor; all full of enthousiasm.

Hundreds of visitors witnessed the performances and danced in the open air. Every photographer switched from taking photos to recording and many spectators captured the happening with their smartphones. The momentum and images were quickly spread live over the oceans through internet and social media…

I have never experienced anything like this in Belgium!’ was the comment of Pastor Idione of the Brazilian church ‘Assembleias de Deus’ in Antwerp. At the closing of the event she asked together with her team that volunteered throughout the event: “When is the next festival?” She went on to say, “until today the church was somewhere between four walls for us. Such a manifestation outside those walls, among people, was unknown to us. We are grateful to participate!” Prs Albino and Idione have been in Antwerp for 17 years as missionaries. Exactly one year ago, they discovered Koinonia’s work in collaborative projects with Evangelical and Pentecostal churches. Since then, they have not missed a single festival in Antwerp.

The atmosphere was unparalleled at Groenplaats, from A to Z. A small team from different churches they took over after the city of Antwerp installed the beautiful red and white tents with electricity, and the entire event set up took form in just four hours.

Hope Festival is dedicated to the street children of Uganda, who are provided with care, rehabilitation, education and training through the work of Koinonia. Hundreds of children are currently supported in different districts of the country and in different phases; some for a trajectory of months and others for years. Another Gideon team in Uganda takes care of the children in four different projects from southwest to northeast, in meal distribution points, transit or daycare and rehabilitation centers and in resettlement places. The testimonies that these children bring are heartbreaking.

A flea market, second-hand clothing, food and beverage sales as well as handcrafts, manicures and haircuts were offered in favor of the street children. This took place in the various tents that surrounded the square. In addition, the stand of the street children who constantly provided information about the work in Uganda and the regular children’s entertainment with grimace and bouncy castle, completed the picture and the services for young and old.

With gratitude to:

  • The Evangelical churches:
    Philadelphia, Wijngaard, Agape church, Assembleias de Deus, the Russian church of Philadelphia, Antwerp Christian Fellowship, Kingdom Faith Ministries, The Marvelous Light of God;
  • The artists and bands:
    Zamar crew, YIC, Bernice and Psalmist Christy;
  • The photographers: Raymond Vlement, Anita Lieblich and Jurgen Herremans;
  • The volunteers and speakers who came from far and nearby to serve;
  • Everyone who gave things for sale or a financial gift and “last but not least”,
  • Those that volunteered and sponsored!

The children in Uganda and all co-workers of Koinonia are grateful to you, but also in heaven there is a report of your action of love and faith.

What we realised together is a fulfilment of Jesus’ prayer in the gospel of John 17:23 ‘that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’

Hope Festival is an initiative of Koinonia Ministries in collaboration with Gospel Palace and Evangelical churches from Antwerp and others who strive to bring the Light of the world in our city and country.

Pictures from Hope Festival 2019

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