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OLD-FASHIONED TENT REVIVAL STARTS ITS 4-WEEK RUN TONIGHT

SHARE OLD-FASHIONED TENT REVIVAL STARTS ITS 4-WEEK RUN TONIGHT

When the tent goes up in Granger Park tonight, Salt Lake-area residents will get a taste of a bygone era: the old-fashioned evangelistic revival so popular from 1880 to about 1920.

While the principle's old, there's a real need for the same type of revival now, said the Rev. Marshall Warneke, pastor of the Bible Baptist Church of Kearns, which is hosting the four-week event."Nationwide there's a move to bring it back because it fills a need," Warneke said. "It's designed to reach a person's heart - the seat of the soul and spirit. Old-time songs have been successful in the past. I think they will be again."

Beginning Sunday and running through Aug. 24, the Rev. Preston Bunnell will lead the old-fashioned tent revival in Granger Park, 3500 S. 3600 West. The event, which starts nightly at 7:30 p.m., is patterned after the crusades that were so successful by Billy Sunday, D.L. Moody and Mordecai Ham. Warneke said families are encouraged to bring a picnic to eat before the revival.

The Rev. Bunnell is an old-time evangelist from Waco, Texas. For 12 years he has traveled around the country preaching in different communities.

"He's very well prepared," Warneke said. "He knows exactly what people need. Listening to him is something you'll never forget."

Terry VanBuskirk, a professional musician for more than 20 years, is the guest crusade musician. He has written 21 songs, patterned after old-style religious numbers, for the revival.

"We're seeing a revival of evangelism," Warneke said. "With divorce, the crime rate, dope and the spread of the New Age movement, the main effort of evangelism is to get back to the old basics. We as church leaders see it needs to be done."

He said the spread is affecting many Protestant churches, not just his own independent Baptist denomination.

"People need a personal relationship with God," he said. "These revivals have a great impact. They deter crime as people change their lives. Being close to God straightens out marriages and rearranges home. In the last 20 years we've gone away from tent revivals. Now we're bringing them back because they fill a need. I have seen decisions made for Christ that have been everlasting."

Warneke also believes the park atmosphere is a perfect place for a revival. Besides its other advantages, there's a playground for the children and restrooms readily available.

The public is invited to the event. For more information, call 964-2888.