Annual New Year's Revival Rallies Churches for God

An interdenominational faith revival drew all kinds of churches to the Washington, D.C. area to kick off the New Year in unity.

"Even though our churches do things differently, we understand that for this season it isn't about that," said Lead Pastor John Jenkins, Sr. of Landover, Md.'s First Baptist Church of Glenarden. "It's about churches setting aside their differences and working together for the greater good of God."

First Baptist and D.C.'s Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church have gathered with visiting churches for several days of singing, sermons and devotion to God every year since 2003.

The 2012 edition began Wednesday at First Baptist with a performance by Beverley Crawford and a speech by Pastor Jackie McCullough of Pomona, N.Y.'s International Gathering at Beth Rapha about remaining righteous in the modern age.

The three-day gathering concluded Friday at Landover, Md.'s Jericho City of Praise with a sermon by Bishop T.D. Jakes of Dallas’ The Potter's House.

"A gathering like this should reach many places, many people and many cultures," said McCullough. "We have to learn to fellowship with each other to strengthen each other. If we inform, mentor, guide and demonstrate our lifestyle, it will help people make the right choices."

Cedric Brown, Greater Mount Calvary's associate pastor, said the best way of achieving such a mission was making a gathering with broad evangelical appeal. The series' wide range of singers and speakers, he said, made sure that the Lord's message reached greater numbers of people.

"God is coming back for one church," he said. "That one church is made up of young and old, black and white, Asian and Hispanic, traditional and contemporary. It's important that we send a message to the world that God's church is one church."

McCullough added that such a message was important in a universe where morality is mocked, the economy is fluctuating, and even the church itself at times seems surrounded by sin. If today's Christians practiced the simplicity and community of their ancestors, she said, society would soon transform into a better place.

"The Church is very, very needed in times like this," McCullough said. "There's a charted course in the Bible and the church helps people stay on that course. We need to stick with our faith in God."

The annual revival is aimed at making attendees' beliefs real and exciting to them, according to Jenkins. Without passion, he said, a healthy church can't stake its place in the world.

"The atmosphere here is enthusiastic, electric, motivated and excited," Jenkins said. "I hope people walk out of here feeling like they're going to live more for Jesus next year and that they know they have the power to do that."

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