The Rev. Ronald Paige, assistant pastor at St. Luke Baptist Church in Berryville, Va., roused the audience with his sermon, "A Noise in the Valley," - the story of the valley of dry bones from Ezekiel 37: 1-10.
"The United States in not united, but scattered. There's still time for God's people to come together," Paige said.
"Our communities are lacking and no one wants to give back. God is calling us to get up and do something. We've been dead too long," he said.
Sallie Stewart, 57, from Greenbelt, Md., agreed.
"People need to unite. That's the only way we'll accomplish anything," said Stewart.
Before the offering, the Ambassadors of Christ sang two songs - one titled, "Rain Down on Me." Before they finished, rain from a terrific downpour splattered on the church windows.
Paige said he wants the black community to enter the 21st century strong, united and actively involved in issues like education and the future of criminal justice system.
An estimated 2,500 people attended the weekend's events, Davenport said.
"This year they had things for young people to do - the program last night centered on youth. We need to do more of that," Stewart said.
"We try to show the creative, positive sides of African Americans, but the program is not exclusive to African Americans," Davenport said. "We want everyone to come together and enjoy themselves and not think about `I'm black, I'm white, orange or green.' "
Davenport said non-blacks should attend cultural events to experience the full range of America's melting pot.
"Television shows a lot of negative portrayals of African Americans. Then people see Michael Jordan and say, `Well, there's one positive.' But there's not just one or two - there's a bunch of us out here," Davenport explained.
"It's a continuing challenge," said Bishop Eugene Baltimore, grand marshal of this year's parade and Jefferson County NAACP's first president.
"We're always saying, `We shall overcome.' Now it's time to look at ourselves and say we are overcomers - we are not where we used to be," said Baltimore, 85, of Ranson, W.Va.