Organizers plan another Christian revival next year


The organizers of the recent three-day Christian revival at the Camden Yards stadium said yesterday that its success inspired them to plan a follow-up event next year intended to attract more young black men to God and family values.

"Organizing black men, first locally and then nationally, to build themselves spiritually is one way to begin tackling some of the ills that are destroying the black family," the two ministers who led the Baltimore revival said in a joint statement.

The final tally of the attendance in Oriole Park for the revival on Oct. 2, 3 and 4 was about 82,000.

The two leaders, the Rev. Harold A. Carter and the Rev. Frank M. Reid III, reported that among that number were approximately 1,100 people with no previous church affiliation who came forward during the revival to join one of the more than 20 participating Baltimore congregations.

The three open-air revival services -- one each on Friday and Saturday nights and the third on Sunday afternoon -- were the first non-baseball events in Baltimore's new downtown stadium.

There was no charge for admission, but free-will offerings on the three days totaled about $124,000, according to Leronia A. Josey, a laywoman at Bethel A.M.E. Church who was one of the principal organizers of the revival.

The total cost, including the stadium rent, utilities, security and insurance, is expected to be in the $100,000 range and any proceeds in excess of that amount will be divided among the extensive social-service programs of the two sponsoring congregations.

They are Bethel, of which Dr. Reid is pastor, and New Shiloh Baptist Church, headed by Dr. Carter. Both are in West Baltimore and have large and active memberships.

Much of the preaching at the revival was aimed at young black men caught in the web of Baltimore's drug wars.

Dr. Carter, Dr. Reid, Ms. Josey and State Sen. Larry Young -- who was another of the stadium event's organizers -- have scheduled a news conference tomorrow morning at New Shiloh Baptist Church to discuss the follow-up "National Congress of African-American Men Determined to Live for Christ" being planned for next October in Baltimore.

In their statement announcing this new effort, Dr. Carter and Dr. Reid said, "It is necessary to keep alive the hope and healing experienced at the crusade." The official name of the three interfaith services at the stadium was "Baltimore Determined Revival Crusade."

Many of the participants brought gifts of non-perishable food -- more than 30,000 cans, the organizers said -- to be divided among the Maryland Food Committee, Bea Gaddy's soup kitchen and the social-service programs of Bethel and New Shiloh churches.

The purpose of the National Congress in Baltimore next October will be to attract African-American men to a strengthening of their faith through prayer, study and research, the organizers said.

Guest speakers at the seminar will include both pastors and laymen, who will discuss spiritual, social, economic and health issues.

During the recent revival, 624 people from the stadium crowds registered to vote in the Nov. 3 election. And the organizers pointed proudly to another statistic: On Oct. 4, the last day of the revival, Baltimore police said no shootings were reported in the city.

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