By Meagan Harkins
Approximately 5,000 LOU community members joined together April 9 for a night of worship for the inaugural “Come Together: Oxford” hosted at the Pavilion at Ole Miss.
The event was organized by four Ole Miss students over the past three months — Carter Andrews, Thomas Barr, Olivia Miller and Gabby Puglisi — with a vision of hosting a large group worship event for the Oxford community, according to Barr.
The students brought in the best-selling band on the Billboard Christian Albums chart Passion, along with nationally-known pastor Louie Giglio, both from their home base in Atlanta, Georgia.
“I hope that there’s a lot of lasting impact on people’s lives,” said Brad Jones, a pastor working with the Christian band. “A lot of people made significant decisions in their faith.”
This was the first Christian event to be held in the Pavillion since its opening in 2016 and the Come Together team hopes to make it an annual event.
“We’re hoping to make ‘Come Together’ more than a one-night event,” Andrews said. “We’re hoping to make it more of a ministry in Oxford and doing events every year.”
While many campus ministries were present and contributed to the event, ‘Come Together’ was independently organized in order to truly be a meeting place for people of all backgrounds.
Oxford resident Robin Bolton said the purpose of the event was “to truly get [people] to come together,” and exit the walls of individual churches for one night of unity.
Bolton said she and her friend have been walking around the Pavillion praying for an event like this since the fall of 2015.
The four founding students began planning in January, meeting almost every weeknight until midnight ever since. With less than three months notice, they were in awe to have been able to book the Pavillion, Passion and Giglio all for the same night.
“Louie is such a good communicator, to college students especially,” Andrews said.
The university’s Gospel Choir was also present, singing outside the Pavillion to the lines of people awaiting entry. Darius Woodard, Gospel Choir Director, said his organization was glad to be invited to participate.
Student volunteers walked door-to-door in Oxford to fundraise for the event. More than 100 students also held doors, ushered, directed parking and sold merchandise on Tuesday.
Leaders arrived at the Pavillion beginning at 7 a.m. praying individually over each seat.
“To know that every seat at the Pavillion is prayed for at not only this event but for events to come is really awesome,” said Eglin Cato, Prayer Team co-leader.