Home Christian News ‘Riots to Revival’ Draws Thousands to Downtown Portland

‘Riots to Revival’ Draws Thousands to Downtown Portland

Waterfront Park

Bethel worship leader and political activist Sean Feucht, who’s been defying coronavirus restrictions across the West Coast this summer, led large outdoor worship services in Portland and Seattle over the weekend. Feucht estimated that up to 7,000 people gathered Saturday evening for his “Riots to Revival” event in Portland’s Waterfront Park.

“White, Black, Hispanic, we came and released our song of hope over this city,” Feucht said Sunday afternoon on Fox & Friends Weekend. “People gave their life to Jesus. Hundreds of people. We baptized people in the river behind us. There was so much joy that took over the streets of that city last night.”

Trusting in God, Not Masks

According to news reports, few participants wore masks or practiced social distancing at Waterfront Park. One mask-less attendee told a reporter, “My faith is in God… I’m good.” Another said, “We’re not big mask people, so it doesn’t bother us.”

Several worshipers said they traveled to Portland specifically for Feucht’s event. “Most of us are just here for this, and then we’re leaving,” one said. “So I don’t think it is going to have an impact on Portland. But I don’t know. I’m not a scientist.”

In Oregon, faith gatherings are currently capped at 50 people, whether indoors or outdoors, and social distancing is required.

On Sunday afternoon, Feucht led outdoor worship at Seattle’s Cal Anderson Park. As in Portland, masks and social distancing weren’t common. 

Sean Feucht: ‘The church is rising up’

Feucht’s “Let Us Worship” events, first held on California beaches, are a combination of church service and protest against what he considers excessive lockdowns of church buildings. In Portland, another goal was to “change the narrative” in a city that’s endured months of rioting.

“All of America has just seen these buildings burning, and they’ve seen this destruction and this violence, and the mainstream media seems to be infatuated with this,” says Feucht, who recently lost a primary race for Congress. “But…there’s another story of what God is doing in these cities, and the church is rising up.”

A few miles from Feucht’s gathering Saturday night, protesters destroyed property outside the Portland Police Association office. Police declared a riot and made several arrests. Federal agents left the city last week after months of unrest following the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

On Instagram, Feucht posted photos of worshipers as well as counter-protesters from the weekend’s gatherings. “Worshipping through the chaos, confusion and attacks of last night in the area formerly known as CHOP released such courage across America and the world,” he writes.

“The time for courageous Christianity is here. No more backing down and fleeing for the suburbs. Jesus is coming for the hardest parts of our cities and He’s jealous for praise, love & salvation to fill the streets,” adds Feucht. “These are REVIVAL DAYS my friends but there is A COST. So many were saved, healed and delivered last night! We can’t stop now! #LetUsWorship

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Stephanie Martin, a freelance journalist, has worked in Christian publishing for 27 years. She’s active at her church in Lakewood, Colorado, where she lives with her husband and two teenage daughters.