By Wesley Martin
From mimes to gospel Hip Hop artists, there was something for all last Saturday evening at the fourth installment of 106 Minutes of Praise held in Pensacola High’s auditorium.
“Most people only get a chance to see their church members praise dance on Sunday mornings,” said Bill Marshall, event promoter for 106 Minutes of Praise. “[This] gives the whole community a chance to watch praise dancers from all around the city and as far as Mobile, Ft. Walton, Crestview and the Atmore areas.”
“Some people just feel comfortable at their churches, so this gives them a chance to come to a neutral ground so to speak,” Marshall said.
Though the event had wonderful performances, attendance was below par.
“I just wished more parents would come out and support some of these events because most of the children love praise dance,” Marshall said.
Marshall said some in the community are hesitant to attend praise dance events because they may feel they commercialize the gospel. Marshall also added that with Pensacola being located in The Bible Belt, some may resist praise dance because it’s untraditional.
“I don’t understand why it’s wrong to reward them for doing ministry,” Marshall said. “Praise dance has become a big thing in Pensacola – we’re just late catching up to it. I just wished [people] opened their minds.”
Rev. John H. Powell Sr., who co-hosted the event with Magic 106.1’s Linda “Sonshine” Moorer, agrees with Hamilton.
“Praise dancing is relatively new to this area, in some aspects, because some churches accept it and some don’t,” Powell said.
Still, Powell insists that the activity is a great way to get minors involved in the church.
“We found out that if the church allows [children] to praise dance, it really draws more young people to the church,” Powell said. “The more we allow young people to interact and get involved in the community and in the church, and the more we come out to give them praise, the more they’re going to surprise us and do extraordinary and great things.”