FORT WAYNE—Some people say there’s a solution to every problem. At the very least, there is a way to find peace in the midst of any of life’s storms. That’s the central message behind the Fourth Annual Amnesty & Deliverance Community Festival, set for Aug. 23 in McMillen Park.
According to Amnesty & Deliverance Community Festival Founder Joe Ayers, CEO and executive director of Ayers Communication Inc., the sponsoring organization, everyone goes through some afflictions in life—be they physical, mental or spiritual. Those ills can come in the form of sickness, depression, addictions or just a general feeling of hopelessness. Many times, he said, our afflictions are the product of bad choices in life. But, explained Ayers, everyone is worthy of redemption and another chance to take the right path in life. He said he organized the annual Amnesty & Deliverance Community Festival to show people in the community that there are many caring people who want to help and to show people there is a proven path to deliverance.
Each year, the festival features scores of uplifting activities, including a wide variety of gospel music, vendors and information that can help people find deliverance from their afflictions. This year, the fest is scheduled to focus on three themes: health, spirituality and family.
Ayers spoke passionately on those issues in a letter he wrote to the community explaining the purpose of the Annual Amnesty & Deliverance Community Festival and revealing his own personal testimony:
“This Festival is to bring our community together, to help each other get through any afflictions in life. There are a lot of people still suffering, may it be spiritual, health, drugs, alcohol, mental, violence or just family issues. Many organizations have come together to give info to the community and families to be able to help those in need of help.
“Pastors, choirs, praise teams and speakers have also come together to minister to the community by praising and worshiping together the word of God to the community knowing that it will help someone get through their afflictions in life. We as community have to keep coming together to help each other, especially those who really needs the help understanding God’s grace and mercy. I know how God can deliver out of a situation to prepare you for other trials and tribulations that will come your way.
“I had afflictions for many years and God delivered me through and out of my poor choices I made in the past. But, I had to forgive myself for allowing me to go through those afflictions. Then when I had two cancer and three back surgeries in a 14-month period, I knew that I was saved by the grace of God. It was hard keeping the faith, because when they tell you have cancer, death is on your mind. So, you have to believe in the healing of God’s grace and you have to take care of your body and mind and your soul or you will fall in the trap of the devil and give up.
“My family was there to support me through it all and that’s what this festival represents—the community and families coming together to praise and worship God’s name and helping each other through any afflictions in life. No matter what feelings you have for each other in the past, let go and let God heal your heart. He will deliver you through and out of any afflictions in life.
“We have to teach our kids the goodness of God’s grace, because if you live long enough, you will always go through something that will have you calling on the Lord, thanking Him in the good times and thanking him in the bad times.
“There is a Family Against Violence Rally at 4 p.m. at the festival. This rally is not only to remember the ones we lost, but also to tell the families that lost love ones we are there for them. We need to support the mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews; grandmothers, and grandfathers; friends who have lost loved ones due to unnecessary violence. When we lose a person to violence it affects the whole community. We have to change the way our young people handle their differences with each other. There are kids without father or mothers, because when someone is killed, we lose that person and then when the person is caught who did the killing, we lose that person to the system for the rest of their life.
“People please Stop the Violence!
“We—the Ayers Family: Pie, Joe, Mike, Carol, Diane, Jacari, Jasmine, Dee, Dre, Mary, Eliza, Josiah, Janira, The twins, Julia, Walia, Walter, Dorothy, Big Mike, Lamont, Chasity, Lamont, Darris, Amber, Demonta—thank you for supporting the festival for four years.
“God bless you all!”
As in previous years, festival organizers will give away slightly used clothing to those in need. They also are again asking that people who can bring a canned good or other non-perishable food item to donate to Community Harvest Food Bank to help people in need. Ayers said, last year, festival supporters gave 900 pounds of food.
In addition to the rally and gospel performances by , Amnesty & Deliverance Community Festival organizers are scheduled to present awards to people and organizations who have been working hard to make Fort Wayne a better place in which to live. This year’s awardees are:
• Fort Wayne Police Department Deputy Chief Derrick Westfield;
• The MLK Jr. Club;
• Bishop Crystal Bush;
• Pastor Carlton Lynch;
• The Family Life Center;
• Sweetwater Sound, and
• Fort Wayne Fire Chief Eric Lahey.
Ayers also took the opportunity to thank vendors and other supporters who are scheduled to participate in the Fourth Annual Amnesty & Deliverance Community Festival including:
• The Rescue Mission;
• Frost Illustrated;
• Wayne Township Trustee;
• ESB Whitening;
• CSL Plasma;
• Total Life Changes;
• New York Life Insurance;
• A Hope Center;
• Managed Health Services;
• Small Smiles;
• Mary Kay representative Tara Eckwood of Tennessee who is coming to teach girls how to use cosmetics;
• Good Look Men’s Consignment Closet, including Chris Mitchell of Washington, D.C., and Tim Eckwood of Tennessee who are coming to give 100 bow ties to boys and young men and to teach them how to tie them and mentor them on manhood;
• Nelson’s Chicken;
• Tacos, Ribs and Slushies.
• Pastor David Moore and First Lady DeShawn Moore;
• Pastor Donovan Coley and The Rescue Mission;
• Greater Mount Ararat Church;
• Community Harvest Food Bank;
• Ms. Kym who will be on hand to teach girls how to take care of their nails;
• Bennie Lewis, Mike Ayers and the Fort Wayne Parks And Recreation Department for their support of the five-on-five basketball tourney portion of the fest;
• NAACP WIN;
• Paulette Clancy;
• All the gospel singers, praise teams and entertainers offering their time, including headliner Fatima Washington, and
• Barbers Ayesha and King David and Veronica Townes and her students from the Anthis Career Center.
Ayers said he especially wants to thank God, for everything and the community of Fort Wayne for all their donations of food and clothing , which will be used to bless a family in need.
“If I missed anyone please don’t feel forgotten,” said Ayers. “We want to thank everyone who had anything to do to make this festival a success. I thank you with all of my heart, because without you there will be no Amnesty & Deliverance Community Festival.”
For more information about the Fourth Annual Amnesty & Deliverance Community Festival, call Joe Ayers at (260) 348-6080.