50,000 expected at religious weekend in city Revival Crusade '97, Catholic festival set


Organizers expect a religious spirit to sweep over the Inner Harbor this weekend as church-based celebrations convene at venues known for more secular pursuits: Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the Pier 6 Concert Pavilion.

The Revival Crusade '97 is a two-day interdenominational event featuring gospel choirs and preaching that begins at 6: 30 tonight at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and continues tomorrow, starting at the same time. Organizers expect 50,000 people to attend the two days.

Across the harbor, the Baltimore City Catholic Evangelization Festival will hold a religious "block party" from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow that will highlight the Roman Catholic Church's urban ministries, including parishes, schools and hospitals.

Both events are free, although a ticket is required for admittance to Revival Crusade '97.

State Sen. Larry Young, a West Baltimore Democrat and a deacon at New Shiloh Baptist Church, organized Revival Crusade '97 as a way to combat violence in city neighborhoods and strengthen the family. He also wanted to make it a part of Baltimore's Bicentennial celebration, said Tia Matthews, assistant coordinator for the revival.

"He looked at the schedule for the bicentennial celebration and realized there was no large interdenominational celebration during the bicentennial year," she said.

Young, along with Baltimore ministers Harold A. Carter Sr. and Frank Madison Reed III, organized a similar mass revival five years ago, the Baltimore Determined Citywide Crusade, which organizers said drew more than 82,000 to Camden Yards.

Matthews said many churches are sending bus loads of their members. She has also heard from people in several other states who have requested tickets. "We've heard of people coming from as far away as New Jersey, Virginia and Ohio," she said. "This is not just a Baltimore thing. We've had people calling from far away for this event.

At tonight's session, which is billed as the "Youth/Young Adult Crusade," the Rev. Jamal Harrison Bryant, assistant pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Rev. Harold A. Carter Jr., pastor of New Shiloh Baptist Church, will preach.

Tomorrow, which is "Prayer, Power and Praise Night," the scheduled speakers are the Rev. Arlene H. Churn of Philadelphia, the Rev. Vashti McKenzie, pastor of Payne Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church in West Baltimore and the Rev. Anthony Muse, pastor of Gibbons United Methodist Church in Brandywine in Prince George's County.

The Baltimore City Catholic Evangelization Festival was also conceived as a bicentennial event.

"Part of what we're celebrating is our long history with the city," said festival coordinator Eileen Phelps. "We've been here since the beginning."

The festival will feature continuous music at the Pier 6 Concert Pavilion stage, including church choirs, Irish and Polish dancers, and the Urban Mass Choir presenting the gospel music that it performed during Pope John Paul II's Camden Yards Mass two years ago.

On the parking lot of the Columbus Center will be tents featuring Baltimore church history, children's activities and programs on families and prayer.

Four parishes will offer ethnic food: St. Bernard in Waverly will have Korean food, St. Michael and St. Patrick in Upper Fells Point will have Hispanic fare, St. Benedict in Southwest Baltimore will offer coddies and St. Casimir in Canton will sell chrusciki cookies.

"One of things we wanted to make sure the festival did was to illustrate the diversity of the members of the Catholic Church in the city of Baltimore," Phelps said.

"We welcome everybody to come taste and see what were all about."

Pub Date: 9/26/97

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