Thousands attended a Thursday evening event at Green Acres Baptist Church that featured prayer and worship, as well as musical guest Passion and speakers Andrew Palau and Josh White. 

Organizers said the RE:NEW Gathering was designed to be an evening of inspiration and unity, as more than 220 local churches prepare for a season of outreach and service.  

"I love revivals. We can come together as a community and as one body in Christ," said Tyler Junior College student Alyssa Henderson.

"I'm looking forward to praying over the city. I'm mission-minded and there's a lot of mission work nationally but it's good to have it here in Tyler to address issues we are struggling with by all coming together."

The event was held as part of CityFest East Texas. The purpose of CityFest is to encourage greater collaboration among civic, corporate and religious leaders to better serve the city and proclaim the Gospel on a grand scale.

"We are here to energize the entire city around CityFest for what will happen between now and October and beyond," said Ricky Garner, pastoral co-chair with Bethel Bible Church Hope Campus. "Tonight we celebrate Jesus, enjoy praise and worship, and hear a good message."

CityFest is also an effort to help churches in the region fill neighborhoods with outreach events and evangelical gatherings. It has several phases but will culminate with a large two-day festival in downtown Tyler Oct. 5-6. 

—Augusta Robinson and Chelsea Purgahn

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