Worshipers will be back next week to take a nightly “Stand” in front of the Port Elizabeth City Hall in what the initiative visionary Anton Hutton believes will grow into a movement that will unite the Church and the city.
During “Stand’s” first three-week run around 20 to 30 worshipers from all over the city prayed and sang God’s praises together on Vuyisile Mini square in the city centre from 9.30pm to 10.30pm from Monday to Friday, and people from the area “rocked up” with some “going through deliverence — just manifesting,” Hutton said.
Stand was temporarily suspended in mid-April for Hutton to attend a conference in Johannesburg. But the worshipers plan to start again on Monday April 30 and aim to keep going as long they feel God requires.
Hutton said that one night last month, while worshiping God at a monthly gathering of Burn 24-7 worship leaders from about 25 different churches, he felt God challenging him to go and sing His praises over the city every night.
“I battled for two or three days but realised it was a call,” he said.
Explaining their assignment, the 32-year-old husband, father of a toddler, and youth and children’s pastor and elder at Ebenezer International church, said: “I am still discovering more of the purpose. I don’t understand it all. I don’t need to understand it all. God is unveiling His purpose.
“The big thing is just to be obedient.”
He said they were on the square each night “to release the sound”.
“And its not even to pray for specific things. I think it’s to declare God’s goodness all the time — to sing His praises. Praise is such a powerful weapon.
“We get so caught up with the negative we see around us and we forget that God is good and the more we start to declare His goodness, I believe we will start to shift the atmosphere. So its about putting hope back into the atmosphere,” he said.
“Right opposite the City Hall is a building that says ‘City Hope’ in big letters — actually it’a store but it’s so prophetic because every time people come to this time of worship they are reminded that there is hope for the city.
“It’s awesome to see how people are becoming passionate about the city again,” he said.
Memorable moments on the square to date included a night when the city’s executive mayor Athol Trollip and his wife Janine joined them in worship for a while. It had also been amazing to see people from nearby student residences, and from the street, arrive and connect with the atmosphere of praise and worship.
“In the last week [of the first 3-week stint] we had a young lady — you could see she was into prostitution — she was going through some major deliverance there on the square.
“I had a guy come up one night — God set him free. He was actually high when he came there.
“I had the privilege of even praying for some metro security guys who were attracted there.”
Hutton said he had experienced some personal challenges during the first three weeks of Stand as he was also involved in a campaign that was running at his church. But he had felt a burden to worship in front of the city hall every night.
“In this season I really feel the need to step out and get involved in the kingdom. I just feel it’s time to do radical things that is going to shift some stuff.”
“Fortunately, ” he said, his wife, Kim, who works for a citrus exporting company, was “120%” behind what God was calling him to do.
“In the last season God has really shifted us both towards the same things, so I can really say it’s not my ministry but our ministry.”
He said Kim was a passionate worshiper of God who “carries a huge prophetic grace”.
“If she could be with me on the square every night she would, She was there for several nights with our son, and I said to her for the sake of our son she needed to stay at home,” Hutton said.
“I feel like it [Stand] will grow into a movement to unite the church and unite the city — one of the most powerful ways to do this is through prayer and worship.
“Part of the dream is to have 24/7 prayer and worship happening.”
Everyone is invited to join Stand on weekday nights from 9.30 to 10.30pm. For more information, contact Anton on 084 467 5548.