Springfield has played host to several political rallies and marches in recent months, with crowds ranging from the dozens to thousands. This weekend, an event entitled “Awakening the Spirit” is projected to draw people from across the region.
It’s designed to build a stronger community, says Rev. Martin S. Fields, the bishop of the West Diocese of Missouri.
“We’re trying to be hosts to folks who just perhaps need a lift, perhaps need an opportunity to explore anew the fact that what can be an awfully hard, tough life in this world can actually be lived with joy if we find joy in one another and we build relationships with one another.”
Fields is one of many scheduled speakers at Sunday’s event, with the Most Rev. Bishop Michael Curry to deliver the keynote address.
Curry, elected in 2015, is the presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church. He’ll be speaking in Springfield a day after a similar event Saturday in Kansas City.
Fields says the church makes no attempt to avoid the hard questions of the modern world, but rather embrace them.
“We may not all agree on all the answers all the time, but we are all agreed that we should walk through that together,” said Fields.
He feels the general message presented by Bishop Curry will strengthen communities.
“The only way we’re all going to share abundant life is we start looking out for one another…we actually start treating one another like sisters and brothers instead of competitors for the limited resources of life.”
The event is intended to be uplifting, and also focuses on the church and the role God has in people’s daily lives. However, Bishop Fields says the message can serve people of all beliefs.
“I always find myself smarter when I’m in a crowd where I can hear others people’s ideas or takes or angles on an issue, and it always prompts me to go deeper and think more deeply, and that’s what we’re all about.”
Overall, an emphasis will be placed on caring for each other, and trying to focus on the world around you. Fields described this as trying to live a life while not being self-centered.
“Living in a non-self-centered way; that means we look for the interests of the other as much as we look for the interests of the self.”
Various musical groups will perform at Sunday’s event, which takes place at Hammons Field.
“We want everyone to come, just everybody who has an afternoon that they want to spend being uplifted.”
More details about the event can be found here.