One in Worship Spiritual Super Bowl Returns to Detroit's Ford Field

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On June 10 & 11, tens of thousands of Christians of every denomination and race are expected -- again -- to make a pilgrimage to Detroit's Ford Field, the home of the 2006 Super Bowl, to celebrate One In Worship 2005. The event will show the world that American Christians truly are "One Under God."

Bishop Andrew Merritt lit a spiritual spark last summer when he hosted One in Worship: A Day of Sacrifice at Ford Field in Detroit.

This summer, Bishop Merritt and Straight Gate International Church hope to set the hearts of Christians ablaze with the fire of the Lord when One in Worship returns to Ford Field on Friday, June 10 from 7-10 p.m. and all day Saturday, June 11. One in Worship activities will include quiet prayer, Bible reading, celebration in worship, and a call to discipleship. Participants should bring their Bibles.

One in Worship, is a two-day religious conference that seeks to unify Christians of all races, religious denominations and ethnicities. Joining hosts Bishop Merritt and Pastor Viveca Merritt, is a team of world-renowned religious leaders from as far away as Australia and as near as Canada. Worship leaders of Grammy-nominee caliber will inspire the masses — fifty thousand people at Detroit's Ford Field, the site of Super Bowl XL.

Activities for one of the region's largest religious events will include quiet prayer, Bible reading, celebration in worship, and a call to discipleship. Participants should bring their Bibles.

Bishop Merritt has added a special ministry this year — Youth In Worship — which will take place on Thursday, June 9 from 5-8 p.m., at Straight Gate International Church. Calls from Christian artists around the nation have poured in when they learned of this first-time event. Revving up the young for Christ through ministry will be Bishop Liston Page of Highway Church in New Jersey. Musical inspiration will come from the Billboard Chart-topping Kierra "KiKi" Sheard, the Detroit-bred Ramiyah, 21-03, Rock Nation, Antoine Stanley, Cherise Miles, Marvin Winans Jr. and the remarkable Israel Houghton.

One in Worship is expected to draw tens of thousands to the stadium that will be the site of the next Super Bowl. Preferred seating is available in advance for $20. To register, call 1-800-901-2535 or visit http://www.oneinworship.com.

Under the leadership of Bishop Merritt, Straight Gate International Church has grown dramatically in Detroit over the past 28 years. Bishop Merritt is a powerfully soft-spoken Christian leader with staunch faith and a vision that requires action. For Merritt that action — renting a stadium capable of holding 70,000 people — didn't seem that extravagant, it was necessary.

"I had a vision that the Lord gave me that was One in Worship," Bishop Merritt said. "I knew I had to draw our people — the Christian people of this country — together to praise His name. With the world in turmoil, with violence in our streets, with devastating natural disasters, it is people of God who can make the difference. Our people need faithful leadership and as Christian leaders it is our responsibility to bring the faithful together to pray for that strength for our government, our president and our world leaders."

Christians of every denomination from all over the state and country came out to share their love of the Lord last August. Most left with a newfound excitement about themselves and their faith. Some found Christ for the first time.

For Bishop Merritt, One in Worship is an opportunity to unite.

"We may never be one in doctrine," Bishop Merritt acknowledges. "We may never be one in all our beliefs. But when the presence of God fills a room, we can be one in worship. Last summer, we experienced the power of God's love during One in Worship. This June we have an even greater opportunity to unite in prayer, to lift up our voices to God and ask for his love, strength and forgiveness."

For Erica Owens, 24, of Fraser, the 2004 event was an exhilarating religious experience. The One in Worship ministry and worship leaders were much like those her own Saint Clair Shores Assembly of God Church invites to speak or perform for their congregation.

"One in Worship was inspiring — I can't begin to describe the atmosphere — you have to imagine thousands gathered in His name," Owens said. "The ministry leaders' message evoked so much emotion. Although their message is very similar to what I hear in my own church, there were so many more ministry leaders with their own way of communicating. And the music was amazing, truly uplifting. I'm looking forward to the next One in Worship."

Among those who will set the religious tone for One in Worship 2005, are Bishop Merritt, his wife and ministry partner, Pastor Viveca Merritt, Pastor Paula White of Without Walls International Church in Tampa, Fla., Bishop Joseph Garlington of Covenant Church in Pittsburgh, Pastor Sheryl Brady of The River Church in Raleigh, N.C., Apostle Barbara Yoder of Shekinah Christian Church in Ann Arbor, Mark Chironna of Master's Touch International in Orlando, Fla., Chuck Pierce of United States Strategic Prayer Network, Michael Chitwood of Chattanooga, Tenn., Dr. Pat Francis of the Kingdom Covenant Centre in greater Toronto, Matthew Kelly of Australia . . . and others.

Worship leaders who will sing praise to the Lord include: Israel Houghton, Phil Driscoll, Judy Jacobs, David and Nicole Binion, Martha Munizzi, Morris Chapman, Robert Stearns, and Vicki Yohe — all of whom performed at the first One In Worship. Grammy-nominee Kurt Carr and Alvin Slaughter will join the mix this year.

A special guest, the incomparable Dino Kartsonakis, will dazzle the crowds with an internationally-acclaimed piano performance.

For those who missed last year's One In Worship or who want to relive the powerful experience, CDs, DVDs and videos are now available for purchase online at http://www.oneinworship.com.

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