FOUR of Ararat's churches have banded together to organise what they hope will be an ongoing celebration of life and faith.
The inaugural Real Life Celebration will run from Friday April 26 to Sunday April 28 and aims to make up for a lack of Christian celebrations in regional areas, Church of Christ Pastor Tony Llewellyn said.
"I think rural towns are left on the back burner," he said.
"I'm from Brisbane and I just notice the difference between how a rural city is treated compared to a (metropolitan) city.
"We just really want to put on something that's going to be a blessing to the city."
The festival will feature three days of speakers, live music and children's activities and will take place at the Ararat Town Hall.
Friday will feature a youth event from 6pm to 7.30pm.
Saturday will be family fun day and will run from 12pm to 5.30pm.
Sunday will include a 10am Morning Service and a 6pm Evening Service.
Friday night's youth event will feature musician Levi McGrath and his band with their message of social justice.
"It will appeal to highschool and above," Pastor Llewellyn said.
Saturday will feature Levi McGrath and his band again, as well as children's gospel singer, ventriloquist and illusionist Dan Warlow, and contemporary gospel trio One Accord.
"Our band is playing, as well as the other (church) bands," Pastor Llewellyn said.
On the Friday night and Sunday well known evangelist speaker Dr Bill Newman.
"Everything is free to everybody," Pastor Llewellyn said.
"The church is paying for it and we have a bunch of sponsors."
Some of the prizes for children will include a bicycle, Apple air pods, and a drone.
The churches involved in bringing the event together are the Church of Christ, the Salvation Army, the Community Church, and the Presbyterian Church.
"This is the first time we've done anything like this and we're hoping it will become an annual thing," Pastor Llewellyn said.
"It's been a colossal amount of work and I'm really blessed to have such a fantastic team around me. It's really good to see so many bring all their talents together to make it work.
"It's going to be such a great event."
The event will run at a particularly challenging time for the church.
Easter saw bombings in Sri Lankan churches and upmarket hotels which killed 321 people.
In the weeks prior to that, Cardinal George Pell was sentenced over the sexual abuse of two choirboys in the 1990s.
However, Pastor Llewellyn said that there had been no backlash in the community locally.
"We're sensing a real openness to the church," he said.
"Cardinal Pell and all of these people who have done these things are being rightly penalised for it but that's not all of the church by any means. I think often it's the 99 per cent who are paying the price for what the one per cent have done."
"We're as disgusted as anybody else is about those sorts of things."
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