Bishop Garlington, Joe White, Sherman Smith Highlight Speaker Lineup for Ohio Christian Men's Conference

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Second Men's Rally in the Valley Set for Saturday, May 7, at Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio.

Bishop Joseph Garlington, Joe White and Sherman Smith lead a list of six speakers scheduled for the second Men’s Rally in the Valley, scheduled for Saturday, May 7 in Youngstown.

Bishop Garlington is the senior pastor at Covenant Church of Pittsburgh and presiding Bishop at Reconciliation Ministries International, which builds bridges among races, cultures, denominations, genders and nations.

White is the author of 23 books and president of Kanakuk Kamps in Branson, Mo. He is widely known for punctuating his messages about the cross of Jesus Christ by dragging a large cross onto the platform.

Smith, a Youngstown native, is the running backs coach for the National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks, where he was an All-Pro running back.

Other speakers scheduled for the Promise Keepers-style men’s conference at the Covelli Centre include:

  • David L. Thomas, lead pastor at Victory Christian Center in Coitsville, Ohio, since 1978.
  • Dr. Don Bartlette of North Canton, who talks about growing up as an Indian child with severe handicaps in an environment of poverty and abuse.
  • David Kohout, director of Talk is Cheap, which focuses on building character and hope in the lives of young people across northeastern Ohio.

    Four music groups will lead praise and worship between the speaker segments. They include singers and musicians from:

  • Christian Revival and Discipleship Center in Youngstown.
  • Damascus Friends Church in Damascus.
  • Covenant Church of Pittsburgh.
  • Teen Challenge in Youngstown.

As previously announced, Bishop George V. Murry of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown will deliver the opening prayer and remarks. Bob Popa, a local wedding DJ and long-time radio personality, will be the Men’s Rally host for the second year.

The event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Doors will open at 7 a.m.

Admission is just $15, which includes a boxed lunch at the Covelli Centre. Admission wristbands are available now at and list of stores and churches selling the wristbands will be listed on the website in the upcoming weeks.

Bing Newton, chairman of Men of Faith, the Christian men’s group organizing the event, said the speakers’ topics revolve around the event’s theme: “Men at the Cross.”

“These are men of prayer and fire who have set the cross of Christ as a focal point of their ministries and their lives,” Newton said. “We are praying for them daily, and also for the thousands of men who will stand together in unity and fellowship on Saturday, May 7.”

Last year’s inaugural Men’s Rally drew a crowd of approximately 3,500 men, and organizers are praying for 6,500 attendees this year, Newton said.

More information on the speakers and their topics is available at the website, along with information about advertising and sponsorship opportunities for local businesses.

The Men’s Rally is patterned after the two-day Promise Keepers conferences that drew more than 5 million men to sports arenas across America between 1990 and 2008. But the local event has a local focus, Newton said.

“Thousands of men from the Mahoning and Shenango valleys went to Promise Keepers conferences, and they were great,” Newton said. “But when they were over, we left and came back home.

“The Men’s Rally gives us an opportunity to get inspired and motivated right here, where we live, and to live out the messages where they’re delivered.”

The local one-day format is also more affordable, “which means we can keep the admission price low, so that more men can come,” Newton said.

(Editor's Note: High-res images of the speakers and Men's Rally in the Valley logo are available at our media room:

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