Ideas built on Jesus Fest '97

August 24, 1997


Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Christian rock singer and a church youth leader hope Jesus Fest '97 will be a successful kickoff to their effort to build a Christian youth center for the community.

The event, featuring country gospel and contemporary Christian musicians, will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Berkeley County Youth Fairgrounds outside Martinsburg, according to Kim Schell of Hedgesville.

There is no admission charge, although freewill offerings will be accepted.

Schell said any money donated by those attending will be set aside in an account to be used in the future for what she called the Rock Outreach Center.


The youth leader at the Martinsburg Family Worship Center is in the process of going through the state and federal paperwork to establish a nonprofit corporation under the name ROC Ministries.

Helping her organize the event is Troy LeHew of Martinsburg, lead singer for the group Dunamis. The name of the group comes from the Greek word for "power of God," he said.

"They really need something that has a positive outlook and that positive outlook is the Lord," LeHew said Wednesday. He said he believes a youth center would become a place where people from the region could minister to young people through word and song.

At this point, however, the idea for the youth center is just that - an idea.

Schell said her church has been holding regular prayer services each Wednesday evening, with members praying for the success of the upcoming festival. "If the festival works out well this year, it will continue," LeHew said.

Another reason to hold the free concert is that there are many people who simply can't afford to go to the bigger annual Christian festivals, such as Fishnet or Creation, because of travel expenses and ticket prices.

The music at Jesus Fest '97 will start early with a lineup that includes Messengers of Praise, a contemporary Christian group from Falling Waters, W.Va.; Ronnie Reese, a gospel singer from North Carolina; Bud Foster, a country gospel singer from Martinsburg; and other acts from around the area. Schell said they have all agreed to perform at the event for free.

The featured speaker that evening will be the Rev. John McCloud of Baltimore.

LeHew said Dunamis was formed in 1990 and recently has been playing free concerts Friday nights in the parking lot of the Berkeley Plaza.

The group recently returned from a huge annual motorcycle rally in Sturges, S.D., where "we ministered there in the streets. Bikers need Jesus, too," he said.

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