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Jeannette church sending volunteers to national gathering in Pittsburgh

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Several volunteers from the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church on Harrison Avenue will attend Franklin Graham's Festival of Hope in Pittsburgh next weekend to assist those who want a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The festival is scheduled for Aug. 15-17 at Consol Energy Center, according to the website billygraham.org. The event has one purpose, according to the site — to proclaim God's love to those who need Jesus.

“It's a world-class event to bring spiritual hope to our lives and to our communities,” said the Rev. David Gilmore, pastor of Christian and Missionary Alliance Church.

Each volunteer at the church was required to complete training called the Christian Life and Witness Course over a span of three sessions for three consecutive weeks in order to provide their testimony and offer prayer to those who come forward during the Festival of Hope.

To qualify to attend, each candidate was required to obtain a reference from the pastor of their church and attend all three sessions. Some are geared more toward the counsel of children and teens, while men will counsel men and women will counsel women.

Seven volunteers attended the classes and will be available during the festival. Most of the content is focused on how to share their faith with others. As the event is an interdenominational gathering, the counsel will not focus on one specific religion, but Christianity and hope.

For those who want support in their faith, volunteers will provide their names to local churches for follow up.

Not only is the church offering volunteers, Gilmore is offering a way to get there.

“We're aware that transportation can be a challenge,” Gilmore said. “We'll bus as many people as want to go. Often just getting to the Consol Energy Center is difficult and we don't want transportation to stand in anyone's way.”

Christian and Missionary Alliance Church is sponsoring a bus for all three days and the cost is free. Donations will be accepted by those who want to give.

The church, as well as the website, 3rivershope.org, urges anyone who wants to attend to bring a friend. Billy Graham Associates and festival organizers encourage people to reach out and invite friends, neighbors and family members who could benefit from spiritual renewal and hope.

“They don't want the place to be filled with church people,” Gilmore said. In other words, it's an open invitation for anyone to attend, regardless of denomination.

The church has made reservations for buses and will fill as many as the volunteers can. Gilmore said their goal is three, or one bus each night, but the hope is that there will be more.

The festival itself has a range of activities, including a youth night and a family night. There will be music from well-known Christian artists such as The Charlie Daniels Band and Michael W. Smith, as well as Kari Jobe, Tenth Ave North, The City Harmonic and Aaron Shust.

The only request that the church has is that anyone who is interested should call so the volunteers can estimate the number of buses they will need.

The festival is free to anyone who wants to attend. Specifics about the trip will be provided during the phone call.

To reserve a spot on the bus, call Joyce at 724-523-8946, leave a message at 724-527-2240, or send email to Gilmore at gilseven@verizon.net.

Maria Tyger is a contributing writer.

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