#039;Hope for You#039; festival begins tonight

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 25, 2003

After months of planning and anticipation, the Scott Dawson Hope for You Festival begins tonight at seven at Trojan Arena on Troy State University's campus.

Dawson, who has been lauded by many as the next Billy Graham, is an evangelist and founder of the Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association, a non-profit organization based in Birmingham.

Dawson's Hope for You Festival comes to town only by invitation and he received an invitation from the Pike County Ministerial Association and Randy Bruner, the youth minister at Park Memorial Methodist Church, last year.

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The Rev. Steve Rascoe, who is the pastor at Park Memorial and sits at the head of the PCMA, said bringing this festival to Troy was the first time local churches had cooperated to plan such a grand event.

"I believe we need something to draw everyone together," he said.

"Something that will break down the walls."

Church-goers from every denomination have volunteered to be councilors, ushers and choir members.

"It's wonderful to see people of different races and denominations smiling and having a good time," said Duane Moore, the festival's program and worship director.

The choir, which numbers about 150, will sing each night alone and with special musical guests.

Tonight, Larnelle Harris will perform; on Friday, Charles Billingsley will take center stage; and on Sunday, the Paul Coleman Trio will sing.

Dawson will speak each night.

Saturday night is free pizza night and reserved for youth.

The evening's program will feature popular Christian contemporary artists Out of Eden and Kevin Derryberry.

The doors open at 6 p.m. and the festival starts at 7 p.m. each night.

The Trojan Arena seats 5,000 and the PCMA is hoping to fill it to the rafters each night.