VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – It’s often said prayer changes things. A group of local ministers will pray that, once again, Something in the Water will make the city of Virginia Beach proud.

Before the superstars take to the stage for the three-day festival, local men and women of the cloth who know Pharrell and the history of the resort strip offered up a prayer for Something in the Water.

Prayer service at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront on April 26, 2023. (Walter Hildebrand/WAVY)

“We believe in the power of prayer,” said Pastor Perez Gatling of Ebeneezer Baptist Church and president of the Virginia Beach Interdenominational Ministers Conference (VBIMC) during a pre-festival briefing with other members of the organization. “We wouldn’t be who we are if we didn’t believe in the power of prayer to change things and affect change.”

The prayer vigil, presented by VBIMC, was held at 17th Street Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Days before the kick-off of Something in the Water 2023, conference members reflected on how the man who grew up in the neighboring New Jerusalem Church of God in Christ rescued the resort from the troubled College Beach Weekend.

“Pharrell heard the ministers conference continually fighting about having something for the African-American youth who were coming here for spring break. It took Pharrell Williams and his heart to come up with something that now has been embraced by the whole city,” said Dr. James Allen, pastor of Rehoboth Baptist Church.

On the eve of Something in the Water 2019, pastor E. Ray Cox and others prayed that Something in the Water would make the city proud. When the crowd left, police reported there wasn’t a single significant adverse event. Pastor Cox died in March.

The Ministers conference will return to the Boardwalk Wednesday afternoon to pray over the event created by the international superstar whose heart remains close to home.

“Pharrell worked with the city to make sure that when he brought the festival back this time local businesses were involved, said conference member Gary McCollum, who is also proud of local talent that will perform around the region, including R&B singer JazzmennZoe of Richmond.

Singer JazzmennZoe

JazzmennZoe will perform Thursday at the Brunker Brew Pub, Friday at the NAACP Community Leaders Brunch, and Sunday at 757 events on Atlantic Avenue.

The pastors tell 10 On Your Side they are proud, that once again, the free Pop Up Church program will take place Sunday on the final day of the festival.