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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


Church music festival attracts variety of visitors

By John W. Kennedy (10/10/04)

For the past decade, members of Faith Assembly of God in Webster, Mass., have sponsored Webstock, a Christianized version of the famed Woodstock music festival held 35 years ago in New York.

The three-day August festival attracts visitors from as far away as Providence, R.I.; Hartford, Conn.; and Boston to Webster, a city of 16,200 people south of Worcester.

This year, Webstock coincided with the weekend Hurricane Charley hit Florida. Weather forecasters predicted fallout from the storm would deluge the Webster area. But that didn’t happen.

“People on the prayer chain started praying and fasting, so that we could still meet outside,” Pastor Richard Amendola says. “Sure enough, we had three beautiful days.”

On Friday night, for 3 1/2 hours on the city’s village green, 300 people gathered for Christian music. The last act featured Christian rappers, whose beat attracted 15 kids from the streets.

“The youth group ministered to them and prayed for them,” says Amendola, who has been pastor at Faith A/G for 11 years. “Before the night was over, 10 of them accepted Christ as Lord.”

The most ambitious outreach occurred on Saturday at Memorial Beach on Lake Chargoggagogg-manchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. The city waived the $25 beach entry fee for the seven-hour event and 1,200 visitors showed up.

The outreach included the church’s worship team, drama groups, human video teams, a basketball tournament, face painting, bicycle giveaways and food — all of it free.

Amendola baptized 19 people in the lake. Some had made a profession of faith earlier, while others felt convicted on the spot that they should be obedient to Jesus’ command to be baptized.

That Sunday, the Faith A/G church service attracted 235 people, 55 more than usual. Amendola preached a five-point sermon on Psalm 145:4 on why succeeding generations praise God, with each point illustrated with a song or drama. Afterwards, 170 people stayed for a picnic on the church grounds.

Forty church members are involved in the $6,000 festival, from distributing brochures around the community to collecting garbage afterwards.

Peter Blinn organized the serving of 1,800 hamburgers and hot dogs on Saturday. “Over the years a lot of people have been amazed that it’s free,” Blinn says. “It opens up a way we can share the reason we’re doing this.”

Sue Padovano rededicated her life to Christ at Webstock six years ago. “A neighbor invited me to the beach, which was a safe place for a sinner to go,” Padovano says. “I went forward at the altar call. People showed they are Christians; they didn’t just say it.”

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