CN visits the UK’s biggest indoor meeting in the UK
The Holy Ghost Festival of Life, held twice a year at Excel London is the biggest indoor meeting in the UK. CN went along, 17 April, along with 35,000 delegates for the start at 7pm of an evangelical event that lasted into the night.
The organisers say the format of the event being overnight follows a vision given to the host/general overseer Pastor E. A Adeboye from God to make the event a Holy Ghost Night (an all-night miracle service). This format applies to all the church’s events around the world, which include Israel, India, USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Dubai, Ghana, Philippines and more.
Such is the pull, that David Cameron even went along weeks before the election. (Clearly too good an opportunity to address a captive audience).
Wale Gibson-White is the Festival of Life operations manager and says the RCCG (Redeemed Christian Church of God) Festival of Life is one of Europe’s largest gatherings of Christians for a night of fellowship,praise and prayers, with the host, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor E. A. Adeboye.
“The RCCG Festival of Life started in 1996. We host a wide range of nations, with over 20 countries represented.
“The event has an extended/exhibition area which also provides facilities for visitors including their own cafes and the opportunity to purchase related materials from fellow exhibitors.”
The demand for the content is not only face to face. The Festival of life events are transmitted live via satellite to the rest of Europe, Africa and the USA through the partner OHTV Broadcasting network.
The event at Excel is free to the public to attend.
How has the design of the event changed over the years, we asked Gibson-White?
“From a production perspective, we have stepped up the lighting, sound and visuals to enhance the worship experience. We also broadcast the transmission online via live-streaming and we have infused a live blogging feed which our social department runs to engage anyone who can’t watch or tune into to the event online or TV.”
Wembley Arena, the Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, Royal Highland centre Scotland, Eventcity Manchester and Manchester Evening News Arena have all been used for regional events by the RCCG.
“Our overall aim is to reach out to as many people globally and lead as many souls to Christ – we see this event as a key evangelistic tool for revival around the world,” Gibson-White adds.
The church plans to expand the event to 60,000-plus people which will, no doubt, entail some keen discussions with the Excel ops team. Health and safety regulations and other tenancies have meant keeping a lid on expansion for the short-term.
Excel London’s executive director James Rees was the man who first brought the Festival of Life to the venue and has seen it evolve and take root since 1996.
“We helped them grow the event and flex it up and down. We have the ability to scale up or down at a moment’s notice. Our security operatives are practiced at dealing with the waves of arrivals from the DLR. This event is a clear endorsement of the face-to-face format for the audience.”