By KALEY CONNER
A song on Twila Paris' latest Christian music album is titled "There is a Plan."
That song prompted the theme for this year's Ellis County Festival of Faith -- God has a plan. Paris will visit Hays for the first time to speak, and sing, at the community worship event.
"The idea is that God has these amazing plans in His mind for each one of us as individuals, and for the world. ... And if we are listening and available, we could be part of that," Paris said.
"But so very often they start in a small, hidden way, an almost invisible way. Then suddenly, when the time is right, then everyone can see what God is doing in this quiet place."
The event will be from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Fort Hays State University's Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $7 each and can be purchased at the Hays Welcome Center, 2700 Vine.
Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door. The event is co-sponsored by the Ellis County Ministerial Alliance and the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce.
This year's event marks the 18th annual festival, an event that was started with the intent of bringing Christians of all denominations together.
"It does bring the community together for a day of prayer," said Verlin Pfannenstiel, chairman of this year's event."
The planning committee, which consists of about 14 members, was hoping to bring in a well-known Christian artist who would be a good fit with the local program. They were pleased to hear Paris was available for the event, Pfannenstiel said, noting public response suggests the event could be well-attended.
"The response has been good," he said. "So we do expect quite a few people to be there."
Following the program, which also includes scriptural readings, prayer and music from a local band, attendees will have the opportunity to meet Paris, who has released more than 20 albums since the early 1980s.
She has garnered 33 No. 1 singles and was named the Gospel Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year three times.
Paris, who resides near Bentonville, Ark., with her husband, Jack, and 8-year-old son, J.P., released her latest album, "Small Sacrifice," earlier this year.
She's not on a specific concert tour, but jumped at the opportunity to visit for the weekend event, Paris said.
Throughout her career, Paris has recorded several worship songs that have become common in worship services nationwide, including hits such as "God is in Control," "We Bow Down," "The Warrior is a Child" and "He is Exalted."
"I've always been very aware that the songs themselves and the ability to write them are gifts from God," Paris said. "For those same songs to be turned and offered back to Him in worship just seems to complete the cycle in the most appropriate way."