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Christian Enlightening Festival continues through weekend

Event includes 16 music bands performing southern gospel, R&B, hard rock and heavy metal

June 11, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
  • Scattered Leaves, a Christian rock/pop band from southern Maryland, performs Friday during Christian Enlightening Festival 2010 at Poor House Farm Park west of Martinsburg, W.Va. The second annual event continues through Sunday.
Matthew Umstead, Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A group of churches in the Eastern Panhandle has banded together to organize a free, music-filled festival for a second year and volunteers say they plan to hold the event annually at Poor House Farm Park near Martinsburg.

Christian Enlightening Festival 2010, which kicked off Friday morning with an opening prayer, continues through noon Sunday. In its second year, this year's festival features 16 Christian music bands performing southern gospel, R&B, hard rock and heavy metal. In between performances, pastors and other local speakers are slated take the stage. The festival also features a prayer tent, an array of food, craft and service vendors, and children's activities, including a climbing wall and inflatable bounce.

"We have a goal, first of all to reach people for Christ and then second of all to bring unity in the church community," said Tim Howard, a festival committee member and pastor of Valley View Martinsburg Foursquare Church.

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Howard said volunteers from about eight different churches have been involved in this year's festival, which is themed "Honoring God-Placed Authority."

Pastors, police officers, fire and emergency rescue personnel and individuals serving in the military are expected to be honored Saturday night in a candlelight vigil at the end of the day's events, according to Howard.

Those who attend the festival also can recognize someone who changed their life on a "wall of honor."

"We want to honor them because we believe God has placed them in the authority that they're in," Howard said.

Howard said he wants to see unity within the Christian community and hopes the festival brings churches in the region together.

"I want to see the church community, all the different churches, come together for a common purpose. We're all in this for the same goal," Howard said.

Committee member Kim Shafer, whom Howard credited for keeping the vision of holding a free festival alive, said the bands slated to perform were taking part in the event at no charge.

"It's not about any one church, it's not about my church or yours ... it's about the blood of Jesus," said Shafer, who attends Redeeming Grace Fellowship Church near Martinsburg.

Howard said the event is largely supported by volunteers and fundraisers, plus the bands.

"They all do it because they want to reach out with their message," Howard said.

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