Spontaneous religious revival shows no signs of ending

Posted: Friday, June 30, 2000

MAYFIELD, Ky. (AP) -- A spontaneous religious revival in western Kentucky is in its eighth week and is prompting some comparisons to Pentecostal revivals in Toronto and Pensacola, Fla., which started in the mid-1990s and are still going.

It's also drawing comparisons to Kentucky's large-scale camp meetings of the 19th century.

Organizers said crowds averaged 1,000 a night as worshippers of all ages from the western tip of Kentucky and nearby states were flocking to a gym-auditorium owned by Trace Creek Baptist Church amid country roads and tobacco fields.

The revival in Graves County, population 35,000, started spontaneously at two small neighboring churches. A husband-and-wife music ministry team, Gerald and Cindy Simmons of Gulfport, Miss., appeared Sunday morning, May 7, at Sedalia Baptist Church and that evening at Enon Baptist Church.

''God just showed up,'' Sedalia pastor Tim Allred said. Some people became Christians or promised to renew a sagging faith, while others wept over past emotional hurts and forgave each other for old grudges. Pastors of both churches agreed to extend the revival one more night, and when it outgrew their facilities, they found the largest church building in the area at Trace Creek.

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