More than 30 Fox Valley churches to join Chicago Harvest outreach

  • Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, a megachurch in Riverside, Ca., will lead the Chicago Harvest outreach event at Allstate Arena this weekend. About 200 Chicago area churches are participating, including 30 from the Fox Valley area.

    Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, a megachurch in Riverside, Ca., will lead the Chicago Harvest outreach event at Allstate Arena this weekend. About 200 Chicago area churches are participating, including 30 from the Fox Valley area. Courtesy Trevor Hoehne

Updated 2/8/2011 2:33 PM

For quite a while now, I've been noticing these black-gold-blue Greg Laurie bumper stickers on the roads advertising a "Chicago Harvest" from Sept. 24-26. Seen 'em?

So here we are in September, and Greg Laurie: Chicago Harvest, a major evangelistic outreach evoking and contemporizing the Billy Graham crusades of years past, takes over Rosemont's Allstate Arena this Friday.


Besides Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Ca., the event will bring some A-list names in Christian music to Chicago.

More than 30 Fox Valley churches and ministries are among 200 in the metropolitan area who have collaborated to support the event. Across denominations and ethnicities, churches have signed on to promote, contribute financially, pray, volunteer or be available for follow-up ministry.

A hundred people from Laurie's home church are traveling on their own dime to volunteer alongside the locals.

"It's a phenomenal church, and from everything we know these are just incredible evangelistic events," said the Rev. Greg Huguley of Elgin's First Baptist Church.

"Any opportunity to have a man of the spirit, who obviously has a gift of evangelism and brings many people into the kingdom, is a worthwhile cause," said the Rev. Elliott Anderson of Elgin Evangelical Free Church. "And I like the idea of many churches partnering together to promote, encourage and follow up."

Friday's program features live performances by the David Crowder Band and Heather Headley. On Saturday, Kirk Franklin and Skillet bring their music to the Allstate, and Sunday's audience will get to enjoy Steven Curtis Chapman and Jeremy Camp. The Katinas will be on stage all three nights.

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In addition to pastoring a megachurch, writing books such as Gold Medallion Award winner "The Upside-Down Church," and hosting programs on TV and radio ("A New Beginning"), Laurie has been speaking at Harvest crusades for 20 years.

It was he who founded the outreach events, which have drawn more than 4.1 million people around the world to hear the Bible's message of hope in an entertaining and nonthreatening environment.

Laurie is the keynote speaker for the whole weekend, and Grammy Award-winner Chapman joins him Sunday night to tell how Jesus Christ brought his family hope in the midst of crisis. Both Laurie and Chapman lost children in automobile accidents two years ago.

The program begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25 and 26, with gates opening 90 minutes in advance. Spanish interpretation will be provided, as well as signing for the deaf. The event is free, but Allstate charges $20 for parking.


Can't make it? Check out the live webcasts at

A primary sponsor of the Greg Laurie crusade is megachurch Harvest Bible Chapel, where kids gathered this summer for a vacation Bible school program called "High Five."

Each of the 800 kids enrolled in program at HBC's Elgin campus chose two elective activities for the week, with possibilities ranging from fencing and animal dissection to manners and outdoor survival.

Another option was Lego building, and participants used 50,000 Legos to construct a model of King Solomon's temple.

Even with something for everyone, the week was tied together under the theme of "It's All About Jesus."

Sisters celebrate: Congratulations to the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary, celebrating their founding 150 years ago in Paris, France.

This congregation of sisters has been in Illinois for a century now and currently serves in a variety of educational and spiritual ministries in Chicago, the Fox Valley and other locations. It's one of three sister orders that joined together in 1997 to establish Provena Health.

The public is invited to an anniversary Mass and open house at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, at the convent, 717 N. Batavia Ave., Batavia. To RSVP, call (630) 879-1296.

Veterans' issues: Vietnam veteran Dr. Timothy O'Brien will talk about Edward Tick's book, "War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation's Veterans from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder," following the 7 p.m. service Wednesday, Sept. 22, at St. Hugh of Lincoln Episcopal Church.

Anyone can attend, but the twice-monthly prayer and communion service is especially geared toward military veterans, friends and family members.

Located at the corner of Randall Road and Highland Avenue in Elgin, the church hosts the outreach every fourth Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. and every second Tuesday at 7 a.m.

Sweet Saturday: With more than 50 different kinds of handmade chocolates and a lunch of chocolate chili, "Chocolate! The Festival" will tempt many a sweet tooth from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 357 Division St., Elgin.

This is the fourth year for the event, which also features treats for nonchocoholics. An art show and rummage sale will be offered, as well as wine tasting by Red Bar Winery and a silent auction for 14 handmade quilts.

But the main attraction is the chocolate, and even Fair Trade versions will be for sale. Volunteers will be making fudge and truffles, peanut butter cups and bonbons all week.

Weight Watchers can wait, eh? This is heaven!

• "In the Spirit" covers churches and synagogues in the Fox Valley area; contact to submit information or ideas for upcoming columns.

Fox Valley churches and ministries participating in the Greg Laurie crusade

Aurora: Crossroads Community Church, Revive Christian Fellowship, Warehouse Church, Wayside Cross Ministries

Barrington: Village Church of Barrington

Bartlett: Intervarsity Chicago, Jesus Journey Church

Carpentersville: Calvary Chapel Cardunal

Crystal Lake: Evangelical Free Church, Harvest Bible Chapel, Trinity Baptist Community

East Dundee: Outreach Fellowship Christian

Elgin: Elgin Bible Church, Elgin Evangelical Free Church, First Baptist Church, Grace Evangelical Church, Harvest Bible Chapel, Highland Fellowship Church, New Covenant Fellowship, Second Baptist Church

Geneva: Fox Valley Church of God

Hoffman Estates: New Life Ministries

Huntley: Springbrook Community Church

Lake in the Hills: New Life Baptist Church

South Barrington: Willow Creek Community Church

St. Charles: Christ Community Church, Lifegate Capital Church, Riverside Community Church, Riverwoods Christian Center, Trinity Vineyard Christian Fellowship

Streamwood: Grace Lutheran Church

West Dundee: Fox Valley Church


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