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IN THE SPIRIT: The flames of revival burn strong

There's a song that will be my favorite 'til the rivers all run dry. It was written and recorded by Robin Mark of Belfast, Ireland, whom I've seen, heard and met.

There's a song that will be my favorite 'til the rivers all run dry. It was written and recorded by Robin Mark of Belfast, Ireland, whom I've seen, heard and met.

In "Revival," Robin sings:

"As sure as gold is precious and honey sweet, so You love this city and You love these streets.

Ev'-ry child out playing by their own front door, ev' -ry baby laying on the bedroom floor.

Ev'-ry dreamer dreaming in their dead end job, ev'-ry driver driving through the rush hour mob.

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I feel it in my spirit, feel it in my bones.

You're going to send revival, bring them all back home."

Spiritual revival has taken place in Northern Ireland, and some feel it's happening right here in our cities.

"I believe there is a new evangelization coming," Mike Allmaras says.

The Holy Spirit instilled that thought in the East Grand Forks man more than three years ago, when during a time of intense personal prayer. "I heard a small voice say the Lord was going to pour out a spiritual flood and fire on this area, like the physical flood and fire of 1997. I don't think people recognize that floods and fires happen to bring us to the realization of what life is really about. I have a lot of hope for Grand Forks and East Grand Forks to have a spiritual flood and fire."

So, "Flood and Fire - 1997-2007" is the name of a revival celebration spearheaded by Mike. Many have jumped on board with him for the May 6 event in Grand Forks' Alerus Center. Along with businesses, it's sponsored by the five local Catholic parishes: Sacred Heart (the Rev. Larry Delaney); Holy Family (the Rev. Phil Ackerman); St. Mary's (the Rev. Dan Mrnarevic); St. Michael's (the Rev. Gerard Braun); and St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center at UND (the Rev. Raymond Courtright).

"I always believe," says the Rev. Braun, "that as a human community, it's important to celebrate and commemorate 'together' those events that shape our identity. The Flood of 1997 certainly shaped this community for the better even though we went through suffering. This is about giving thanks for the blessings that came from God through people in government, FEMA, the Air Force, Grand Forks officials and countless volunteers who came from far and wide to pitch in. It's to give thanks to the people of the community who helped each other in physical ways. We believe God is always present to help us in our crisis and that God works through people."

"Flood and Fire" is free and open to all denominations beginning at noon. Food vendors will be on hand, and I know that Steve Thomas, a Sacred Heart guy, and owner of Scott's Music, will be a wonderfully welcoming emcee.

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Praise and worship music begins at 12:30 p.m., and at 1 p.m., the Rev. Stan Fortuna, also known as "The Rapping Priest," will take the stage. He's internationally known for his powerful preaching and his contemporary Christian, jazz, folk, reggae and rap music.

Bishop Samuel Aquila of the Fargo diocese and Bishop Victor Balke of the Crookston diocese will officiate during a 3 p.m. Mass.

There's a break for supper; then at 6:45 p.m., residents of North Dakota Teen Challenge, a Christian alcohol and drug rehabilitation group based in Bismarck, will give testimonies and sing as a choir.

The headline concert at 8 p.m. features Tony Melendez, a talented composer and musician who was born without arms. He's appeared on television many times, including the Super Bowl. And he's played for the pope four times.

"I saw him in Bismarck before 13,000 people," Allmaras says. "It's so extraordinary to see a man who has no arms and no hands play his guitar with his feet. There were tears rolling down his face, and he couldn't even wipe his tears away."

I agree with Rev. Braun that God uses people to carry out His plan. Perhaps Melendez and all others taking part in "Flood and Fire," are being sent by the Almighty to fan the revival flame that's in the wind.

One more thing

Remember the "Praise God Parade?" Beginning in 1989, eight of them were held each spring before the flood put the kibosh on them.

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Speaking of revival - the Praise God Parade is back, also planned for May 6. It begins at 2:30 p.m. in the Grand Forks Civic Auditorium parking lot. The route will continue down DeMers Avenue into East Grand Forks and end at the Fire Station. Christian music, food and games follow in Sherlock Park.

Back in November, while quilting, Sue LeTexier, worship leader and organist at Trinity Lutheran Church, Manvel, N.D., says she "heard clear as a bell that it's time for another parade."

When Sue spoke to Joanne Rozeveld, "Joanne said she knew in her spirit that it was going to happen again," Sue adds. "That was a confirmation."

Working with Sue are Debra Hopkins, Shannon Vacura, Teresa LeTexier, Gail Schrage, Terri Marston, Mark Rath, Gary and Lois Johnson, Katy Larson and Amanda Johnson.

"This parade is important," Sue says, "because we're made to praise God. He is worthy of our praises. We want to thank him for who he is and what he's done for us."

One year, the parade had 29 entries. This time, Sue hopes for 55.

"I'm learning to think big," she says. "It's another lesson because I'm very conservative. I want to start out with trumpets. In Bible times, they went around Jericho with trumpets. We can claim this area for the Lord with trumpets."

Sue welcomes entrants to carry banners, ride on a float, pull children in a wagon, in-line the parade route, drive a vintage car. She'll accept entries up to May 6. Call her at (218) 773-5112 (work), 773-6519 (home) or (701) 740-8187 (cell).

I think Robin Mark may be right on when he sings: "I feel it in my spirit, feel it in my bones. You're going to send revival, bring them all back home."

Dunavan is a Herald columnist. Reach her at (218) 773-9521 or naomiinthespirit@aol.com .

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