Thousands to Rededicate America to God

Four centuries after the first English settlers planted a cross on Virginia soil, dedicating the New World in prayer, Christians across the nation are gathering on that same soil this week to rededicate America to God.

The Assembly 2007 is expected to gather Christians to Virginia Beach beginning Thursday in a major prayer event centered around the 400th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in North America. Top Christian leaders will join the national gathering, which is said to be the only faith-based event among all other Jamestown quadra-centennial events.

"We see this as a God-given time for our nation," said Bishop John Giminez, who is leading the team that is organizing the event. "We are encouraging Christians across the country to plant a cross at their churches or in their front yards to do their own personal dedication of their land to God."

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According to Kevin Crossett, promotions manager for Jamestown 2007, the official umbrella organization for hundreds of events commemorating the anniversary, religion is not a prominent theme for the upcoming events as it had not been at the time when the settlers landed on American soil.

"While we're not saying there wasn't a religious component, it wasn't as prominent as the other three," said Crossett, alluding to the themes of free enterprise, representative government and cultural diversity, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

Still, John Blanchard, coordinator for The Assembly 2007, stressed that America started as a Christian nation.

"...and I feel it's God's purpose we stay a Christian nation," he said, according to the local newspaper.

"We want to reaffirm our Christian roots; we are a Christian country," said Blanchard. "They did come ashore dragging a cross."

The four-day faith-based gathering will culminate with a five-hour service on the oceanfront on the anniversary day, dubbed Dedication Sunday. Prayers, led by evangelical leaders, elected officials and Christian artists will be ongoing that afternoon as thousands of believers re-establish a 400-year-old covenant with God.

"People of faith from across the country see the vision of what we're doing, recognizing the historical significance of the event as Robert Hunt dedicated the new land to God," said Pastor Anne Gimenez of Rock Church in Virginia Beach in a statement.

A day after Christians rededicate America to God, the Christian Broadcasting Network and Regent University will air on national television networks "First Landing" – a one-hour docu-drama film on the story of the first English settlers. At the heart of the film is Hunt, who served as chaplain and planted the cross as one of the first to land in North America.

Earlier this month, President George W. Bush proclaimed 2007 the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown.

"Much has changed in the 400 years since that three-sided fort was raised on the banks of the James River. Today, we are a strong and growing Nation of more than 300 million, and we are blessed to live in a land of plenty during a time of great prosperity," he said.

Leading conservative Christians, such as religious broadcaster Pat Robertson, prominent black leader Bishop Harry Jackson, and renowned life coach Paula White are involved in the anniversary event along with 65 local pastors. The Assembly 2007 is sponsored by One Nation Under God, a non-profit ministry dedicated to prayer mobilization and based out of Rock Church in Virginia Beach.

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