The sky was blue, the wind was light and the sun was shining while the sounds of gospel music resonated through downtown Tyler on Saturday. The 3rd annual Empowerment Ministries Praise Fest was held on the T.B. Butler Fountain Plaza.

"Jesus said that His people be as one as Him and the Father are one," said Stanley Cofer, event coordinator. "This is our way of bringing the body of Christ together through different types of music and culture."

Empowerment Ministries hosts the event on the 3rd Saturday of April. Gospel musicians from all genres and denominations come together in Tyler to play their music.

Vendors, businesses and community organizations set up booths around the square to help celebrate the event and show their support for the community.

Gospel artists, Sandy Jarvis, Nancy Caraway, Ramoth Gilead, Terry Davis, Blaze, The Singing Apostles, Virlinda Staton and Endurance House took their turn on the stage during the day.

Ekko Taylor, from Longview, had been invited to the event for the last three years, but was not able to make it. This year, Taylor and his family came to take in the music and see a friend perform.

"We wanted to come out and enjoy the day and watch our friend sing," Taylor said.

Cofer says he wants to continue growing the event and hopes to, one day, fill up Rose Stadium with people from all over East Texas.

"The event fell on Easter weekend this year and that makes it pretty special," he said. "There is a lot of division in the world and our goal with Praise Fest is to bring people from different cultures and denominations together with different types of gospel music."


Crime and Breaking News Reporter

I started working at the Tyler Morning Telegraph in June 2016. I am a retired U.S. Air Force Sr. Master Sergeant. After a 21-year military career, in Security Forces, the military police of the Air Force, I went back to college and studied journalism.

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