Gasworks overrun by “worship rally”

Despite restrictions and the closure of Gasworks park Sean Feucht gathers hundreds

Angela Ide, Opinons Editor

Hundreds of people, from all different kinds of places, flood the streets of the Fremont neighborhood in Seattle for a prayer and worship rally, #LETUSWORSHIP, organized by worship leader Sean Feucht.

Pre-COVID-19, this would be a normal day in Seattle and hardly an eye would be batted at all the people flowing through the sidewalks, without masks and packed together like sardines. But in a time when everyone has to be more careful about transmission rates and allowing for a safe distance between each other, the sight of hundreds gathered together invokes fear.

Holding out a mask to nonmasked pe
Kenzi Meyer attended the rally to pass out masks to those attending the protest. (Courtesy of Kenzi Meyer)

As much as everyone wants to see a group of people gather without fear, to celebrate a unified belief, and to joyously declare hope in the midst of this pandemic, ignoring the safety of others and those around them is doing more damage than good. Yet, this was not the first and will likely not be the last rally seen from Sean Feucht.

“Feucht has led a series of similar revival events across the country, including one in Vancouver, Washington…Portland, Oregon, and Huntington Beach, California. In June, he played with a Christian band at the site of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis,” noted the Seattle Times in a Sept. 6 article covering this gathering.

In the midst of what some have called this “Riots to Revival” movement, some Seattle community members chose to counterprotest this event as well as handing out masks. One of those people included Seattle Pacific’s very own senior nursing student, Kenzi Meyer.

“I just walked on-scene with masks hoping that other people were already wearing them, but ready to offer them if people weren’t,” said Meyer over the phone.

“To my dismay, there were not many people wearing masks.”

As someone who has been a “street medic” for protests before, Meyer wore her unofficial medic bag, normal everyday clothes, her mask, and carried masks along with her so she could offer help in as many ways possible. About six or seven people accepted masks from Meyer, and one woman even thanked her for all she was doing, but this didn’t seem to make much difference out of the couple of hundred interactions Meyer had.

The most ridiculous and absurd part of this ideology is the belief that disasters, restricted in-person gatherings, and the loss of worship spaces can change a person’s ability to love. The mere pursuit of a “revival” space without care for present concerns and their communities seems to put the priority of space and beliefs above safety. Within history, this couldn’t be farther from the Christian narrative.

A crowd gathers in Gas Works closely together
A large crowd of people gathered in Gas Works Park for the worshop rally hosted by Sean Feutch. (Courtesy of Kenzi Meyer)

When the Church (meaning, universal body of Christ) first started to gather in the name of faith, it was in houses and these places of gathering were nomadic because the government was actually crucifying and publicly killing those who expressed faith in Christ’s resurrection.

So for American churches to be hung up on the loss of a building, they have forgotten that Church was and will never be about a building or a space of meeting. When this need for individualized spaces overpowers the call to love neighbors and the world around us, Christianity because toxic instead of healing.

Meyer experienced this firsthand. She said that “there were multiple people who told me to leave or said that I wouldn’t be welcomed there because of my agenda.”

Jesus said that the first and most important commandment was to love God, which is the same as loving your neighbor in Matthew 22:38. Americans, however, have rewritten this command as “Love God, which is the same as loving those you can.”

In a time of personal loss, hopelessness, a need for change in law enforcement training, a hunger for meaning and purpose, and a lot of unknowns in the future, the Church has a real opportunity to do what it should: show that they get their hope and put their faith in something bigger than all the impossible things faced in everyday life.

“Loving God requires loving people, you can’t pick and choose,” says Meyer.