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Homosexual rights activists gain influence in public schools (10/17/04)

Church’s prayer births children’s ministry (10/17/04)

Partner program revitalizes dying church (10/10/04)

Church music festival attracts variety of visitors (10/10/04)

Churches urge compassion for alienated smokers (9/19/04)

Youth ride wooden waves in church parking lots (9/12/04)

A/G, COGIC join forces through inner-city campus (9/12/04)

Christians respond to victimized women and children (8/29/04)

Growing slavic church shares new facility (8/29/04)

Couple embarks on capitol prayer tour (8/29/04)

ADHD requires multifaceted treatment approach (8/22/04)

Small congregation grows — by planting churches (8/22/04)

‘Under God’ stays in Pledge of Allegiance, at least for now (8/8/04)

Church reaches out to those feeling loss (8/8/04)

Churches act pre-emptively to reduce risk of abuse (7/25/04)

Credit cards ensnare record number of Americans (7/25/04)

Church helps out with donated CD, recycled buses (7/25/04)

New wave of pastors minister to emerging adults (7/18/04)

‘Walking Witnesses’ raise thousands for missions (7/18/04)

Healing center offers alternative medicine (7/18/04)

Growing number of Hispanics impact economy (7/11/04)

'Busy' couple finds time for compassion ministry (7/11/04)

Hand-copied Bible leaves 40-year legacy (7/11/04)

Pastor ends hunger strike when strip club promises to sell (6/27/04)

‘Military survival kit’ requests inundate A/G (6/27/04)

Fourth of July outreach draws thousands (6/27/04)

Drivers warned to steer clear of distractions (6/27/04)

Pastors face more counseling demands (6/20/04)

Church uses touch of ‘flavor’ to reach community (6/20/04)

Outrageous self-expression often starts, stops at home (6/13/04)

Runner raises $5,200 for Convoy of Hope (6/13/04)

Euphemisms tempt Christians to conveniently shed sin, guilt (5/30/04)

Funds for Easter play buy groceries instead (5/30/04)

Identity theft threatens millions of Americans (5/23/04)

Spanish speakers face challenges, opportunities in United States culture (5/16/04)

Health experts implore Americans to get fit (5/9/04)

Leaders say Christian faith stems recidivism (4/25/04)

Riders feel at home in Orlando sanctuary (4/18/04)

Churches try to keep human touch with new media (4/11/04)

Christians see Passion as ministry opportunity (3/28/04)

Tutoring improves lives, opens doors for evangelism (3/21/04)

Cybertheft costly — especially for Christians (3/14/04)

A/G women seize new ministry opportunities (2/29/04)

Investment in early spiritual maturity reaps rewards (2/22/04)

Christian families respond to foster care opportunities (2/15/04)

Childless couples grapple with emotional roller coaster, faith challenges (2/8/04)

Few men seek help from abortion grief, guilt (1/18/04)

Women who answer God's call provide valuable local ministries (1/11/04)

2003 PE Report stories

Frontline Reports

2002 PE Report stories

2001 News Digest stories

2000 News Digest stories


Fourth of July outreach draws thousands

By Kirk Noonan (6/27/04)

Booms, bangs and ‘‘ahhs’’ are all part of the gift Calvary Assembly of God in Toledo, Ohio, gives to the city of 315,000 each year. On the Sunday before the Fourth of July — or on Independence Day itself if the holiday falls on Sunday as it does this year — the church puts on FireFall, a $20,000 fireworks display that draws upwards of 15,000 people to the church grounds.

“As Christians we need to engage our culture,” says Calvary Senior Pastor Doug Clay, noting that the idea for FireFall came from a similar event James River A/G in Ozark, Mo., puts on each year. “FireFall is one way to do that while offering an alternative to [mainstream] Fourth of July celebrations.”

According to Clay, FireFall, which is in its fifth year, has served not only to entertain the public and celebrate freedom, but also to broaden the congregation’s reach and to bring believers in contact with the unchurched.

Before the fireworks begin, Christian musical groups, illusionists and other performers keep the crowd entertained as 300 volunteers and church leaders work their way through the throng greeting visitors, offering assistance and picking up trash.

“We want Toledo to see that our church is interested in being an integral part of the community and in meeting the community’s needs,” says Clay, recently elected to serve as superintendent of the Assemblies of God’s Ohio District. Clay notes that admission to FireFall is free. “A healthy church whose members reach into the community is the most powerful influence on a city.”

In the four years since FireFall began, several visitors of the event have begun attending Calvary and have accepted Christ as Savior.


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