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Festival of Lights set for this weekend

| Monday, Aug. 27, 2012, 11:21 p.m.

The 11th annual Festival of Lights, a Celebration of Jesus Conference, sponsored by World Christian Outreach Ministries of Connellsville, will be held Friday and Saturday at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus. This year's theme is “El-Elyon, The Most High God.”

Robert Stearns, founder and executive director of Eagles' Wings, a relational ministry, based in New York, will be a featured speaker. He is involved in a variety of outreaches and strategic projects around the world. He has ministered in 30 nations. Stearns is the visionary behind the worldwide prayer initiative, “The Day Of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem,” and has the participation of 300,000 churches in 175 nations.

He and Jack Hayford serve together as co-chairs of the prayer mobilization, representing the largest prayer movement in history focused on Jerusalem.

A powerful communicator and musician, he has been keynote speaker, guest artist and worship leader at several celebrations of the Feast of Tabernacles in Israel. Author of five books as well as numerous feature articles in national publications, he is a regular guest on radio and television.

Stearns will lead the 7 p.m. Friday celebration.

He will be speaking at the 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. workshops on Saturday and will lead worship on Saturday evening, beginning at 6 p.m.

Saturday's workshops will feature speaker Bill Yount of the Shofar Has Blown Ministries of Hagerstown, Md.

Yount travels full time ministering in churches and Aglow circles. He is an adviser-at-large for Aglow International.

The Rev. Don Smith, senior pastor of World Christian Outreach Ministries, will be a featured speaker. Smith has had extensive evangelistic travels throughout the United States, as well as missionary work in Haiti and the Dominican Republic for a number of years, and more recently in Africa and Northern India.

Additionally, Don Heist of “Voice of God Shofar Ministry” from Harrisburg, will be on hand to teach on the shofar.

Heist has been playing the shofar since 1995.

In July 2006, Heist met Paul Wilbur in Columbus, Ohio, at a worship conference. He now travels regularly with the Paul Wilbur Ministry team and has ministered with many well-known worship leaders and been heard on Sid Roth's “It's Supernatural” television program, as well as the 700 Club and Cornerstone Television network programs. He will be ministering Friday and Saturday evenings with the shofar and invites guests to bring their shofars with them.

Rabbi Ted Simon of Maryland will be on hand to speak about Israel.

Raised in a traditional Jewish home, Simon completed Oberlin College in Ohio. After attending Messiah Biblical Institute Ted was granted Smicha (ordination) through Tikkun Ministries.

On Saturday, there will be “break-out” sessions that attendees can choose to go to that will include instruction in liturgical dance, folk dance, Davidic dance, banner making and blowing the shofar. Instructors will be Donna Zeigler, an ordained minister and instructor at Greater Works Bible School in Monroeville, on staff at Harmony Zelienople United Methodist Church, Director of Daughters of Judah, and Director of Place of Refuge, a ministry to addicts and their families. Linda Dunn from Maryland has been worshipping Yeshua with Davidic dancing and teaching for many years,

Janice Berda, 7th Trumpet Worship and Arts Ministry based at New Life Fellowship of Pittsburgh, has been committed for 22 years to a ministry of fine and visual arts in which to honor the Lord.

Heist will be teaching on the shofar.

The doors open at 6 p.m. Friday for extravagant worship with Stearns and guest violinist, Jennifer Underwood from Chandler, Ariz., who will be ministering with the violin.

The doors will open at 8 a.m. Saturday for the workshops and at 6 p.m. for worship. At 6:15 p.m., the extravagant worship time will open with Dorine King, a local musical worship artist who has just recorded her first worship CD.

“A very special ceremony we call The Pouring of the Water will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Each pastor attending is given a water pitcher. The pitchers are all different but all contain the same amount of water. Together, they come around the ‘banks of the river.' Each pastor pours out the water at the same time into the ‘river.' The different pitchers symbolize that each pastor is different but the same water symbolizes it is the same Holy Spirit working through each pastor. This is a ceremony that acknowledges and celebrates the unity of the nody of Christ. We are all one in the Spirit, regardless of our denominations. We are brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus,” said Shirley Clawson, an organizer of the event.

There is a charge for this conference. Lunch and dinner on Saturday will be catered by The Italian Oven of Connellsville and there is an additional charge for meals. A free-will love offering will be taken both Friday and Saturday evening to benefit Eagles' Wings. Tickets for the Friday and Saturday evening worship are available at the door. The event will be held in the Community Center of the Fayette campus, located along Route 119 south of Connellsville. For more information or to register for the Saturday workshops, contact Shirley Clawson at 724-887-4839 or by email at

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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