More than a Concert, One in Worship Changes Lives

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One in Worship 2005 will take center stage at Detroit's Ford Field on June 10 & 11. The international Christian event is expected to draw 50,000 people of every culture, color and creed. At the heart of this religious event is some of the most amazing Worship Music in the nation, but it is much more than a concert.

One in Worship could easily be billed as the largest Christian music concert in the Midwest.

Fourteen of the biggest names in worship music today will be performing next week at Detroit's Ford Field on June 10 & 11 as part of this second-annual international event. And an additional seven acclaimed artists will perform at the first-ever Youth in Worship on June 9 at Straight Gate International Church of Detroit.

But One in Worship is more than a concert, it's a life-changing experience, a two-day opportunity to be touched by God, to change lives, to ease pain.

Hosted by Bishop Andrew Merritt and Pastor Viveca Merritt, the founders of Straight Gate International Church of Detroit, One in Worship takes music to heart as it delivers the Lord's message to the masses.

"Music is so much a part of my ministry that I could not envision a Christian event without it," said Bishop Merritt. "Worship music touches us on a level that we cannot intellectualize -- it touches our very core. True worship music is anointed by the Holy Spirit and is Scripture based, directed to the Lord."

Legendary worship leaders such as Israel Houghton and Phil Driscoll, along with the likes of Judy Jacobs, Martha Munizzi, Morris Chapman, Robert Stearns, Vicki Yoh'e, Alvin Slaughter, Byron Cage, J. Moss, Stephen Hurd and Reba Rambo will touch millions with their exalted song. One in Worship will be broadcast globally via satellite. Daystar, the second largest Christian Satellite Network in the world, TCT and CTN will be among the networks carrying the event. TBN will also rebroadcast One in Worship.

"These artists were not randomly selected," Bishop Merritt said. "Each brings unique life experience that is inherent in their music. Their talent transcends culture, race and religious differences. These are performers of amazing ability, who can open the hearts of the people of the City of Detroit, the State of Michigan, the Nation and the World."

Among the performers will be Dino Kartsonakis -- simply known as Dino -- a world-class piano player whose work on the The Apostle soundtrack earned him a Grammy and whose music in the Oscar-winning film "Chariots of Fire" earned him a Grammy nomination. The talented artist, who also has earned eight Gospel Music Associaiton Dove awards, will perform Carnegie Hall in December.

"When he heard about One in Worship, Dino actually contacted us and asked to participate," Bishop Merritt said. "I've been a fan of his for three decades so I was thrilled to have him join us. He has an awesome talent that truly comes from God."

Dino, who performs for more than 100,000 people in concert annually, said his is a rare opportunity to connect without words and to deliver the Lord's message without preaching.

"Being an instrumentalist makes my ministry unique -- I don't have words," Dino said. "Instrumental music is a very special way of touching people."

Music has a way of healing, of easing pain and soothing away stress. When it is music exalted to God, it has the power to save, he said. Dino shares a story of a female radio host he met recently. She told him that 20 years ago she was a lost, bitter, hard-hearted woman until she heard him play. After listening to his music and hearing the Gospel he shared afterward, she began to research the Bible and learn about the Lord. She later was saved, he said.

"As she listened to my music, her heart began to soften to the Lord and she began to let herself hear what I had to say," Dino said. "Instrumental music can do that. When I am with the Holy Spirit that happens and I expect that to happen during One in Worship."

Each artist performing at One in Worship has a story to share, some even have their own personal stories of salvation.

Driscoll is one of them. The son of a minister, Driscoll's amazing talent with the trumpet wowed crowds everywhere, winning him awards and acclaim. But as his star rose, he became caught up in a world not conducive to Christ, living hard, fast and dazed by drugs. His work with Joe Cocker and Blood, Sweat and Tears, skyrocketed him to fame, but took its toll on his soul. However, through the power of the Lord, Driscoll turned back to God and now through his Mighty Horn Ministries touches the world with his heavenly trumpet.

Houghton is the product of a brief liaison between a white teen-aged mother and a black father. He lived abandoned by his father, rejected by his extended family and yet uplifted by the love of a mother who helped instill in him a strong faith in the Lord.

"I tend to lead from an internal platform founded in Psalm 124:2, “If it had not been for the Lord who was on my side…” where in the world would I be?," Houghton says. "In an age of disposable relationships, maybe we should be asking ourselves that question a lot more often. I am confident that we would worship with far more conviction, intensity, and overwhelmed gratitude if we did."

Munizzi, Jacobs, Chapman, Stearns, Yoh'e, Slaughter, Cage and Moss bring a strong Christian music following that has no rival in mainstream music.

Bishop Joseph Garlington, one of the premier speakers for the One in Worship event, also recognizes the power of music to change lives. A strong proponent of worship, the more diverse the better, since the 1970's Garlington is recognized as an expert in the art.

His knowledge of the Bible is deep, and although he's quick to site Scripture, Garlington knows music has a clear path to our hearts. It is through diversity of experience -- religion, culture, race -- that we can change lives, he says. Within the Bible are numerous instances where unity and worship are encouraged, Garlington explains.

"But now, bring me a minstrel, and it came to pass when the minstrel played, that the Lord came upon him," Garlington quotes from Second Kings, Chapter 13 a passage in which the Prophet Elisha dreads advising the son of Ahab. "When the minstrel played, his judgmental side was bypassed and he simply heard the word of God."

That same experience is what Bishop Merritt has in mind for the 50,000 people he expects to attend One in Worship this year. He wants to reach those who do not know Christ and to bring about change in those who resist the Lord.

One in Worship will be held Friday, June 10 from 7-10 p.m. and all day Saturday, June 11, beginning at 9 a.m. Preferred seating is available in advance for $20. To register, call 1-800-901-2535 or visit http://www.oneinworship.com.

Youth In Worship will take place on Thursday, June 9 from 5-8 p.m., at Straight Gate International Church, 10100 Grand River in Detroit. Admission is free, but capacity is limited to 6,000. 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, Antwaun Stanley, Cherise Miles, Marvin Winans Jr. and the remarkable Israel Houghton.

One In Worship Sponsors Include: Bee-Alive, Comerica Bank, Compuware, Detroit Medical Center, McDonalds, Henry Ford Health System, St. John Medical Center, Michigan Chronicle, Mix 92.3 Radio, Contract Design Group, Plunkett & Cooney, Jack's Place, Black Family Development, Instituform Technologies, Butzel-Long & New Mt. Moriah.

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