For the first time in 92 years, Owego played host to a tent revival Sept. 11 through 14. According to one of the organizers of the event, Pastor Terry Steenburg, over 1,200 people came into the tent to worship, learn, testify, and explore faith in Jesus Christ.
“God is on a roll in Owego,” Steenburg said Sunday as volunteers began setting up the tent and sound system inside the track at Marvin Park in Owego. Everyone had a good time, and even though it was a little cool and sometimes wet, Steenburg said people kept showing up.
“Turnout was great,” Pastor J. Brian Scanlon from the Sword and the Spirit Christian Fellowship said, noting they averaged 250 to 300 people during each service. Scanlon was the lead organizer of the Greater Owego Tent Revival, an idea that had been kicked around and evolving in the Owego faith community for many years.
Worship teams from five different denominations came together for the revival, Scanlon said. Scanlon added, “It was a blend of our Christian family, there were people here from every church. I’m thankful for the community I live in.”
The community came together, secular and faithful, to make the Greater Owego Tent Revival a reality. Scanlon thanked Village of Owego Department of Public Works Superintendent Jeff Soules for all the help getting things ready at the fairgrounds for the revival. Scanlon also thanked the Tioga County Agricultural Society for the use of their portable stage. PJF Enterprises donated 1,200 bottles of water. Churches collected donations of hot dogs and hamburgers to feed the hungry during the revival, with one family donating 50 pounds of hot dogs and $200 in cash.
One person who was essential behind the scenes was Dean Smith, owner of Scott Smith and Son, and Scanlon’s boss. “I work for one of the greatest men I know,” Scanlon said, “I’m blessed to work for him and his son Brandon. They love their employees and clients like family, and are very involved in the community. They’re kind, wonderful people, and deserve recognition.”
With all the efforts, strands of faith and action, melded together to create an exceptional experience for all the people who attended. With the revival over, Scanlon said area churches are holding special events to follow up, calling on everyone to get involved with their church, no matter their denomination.
Scanlon’s church, Sword and the Spirit Christian Fellowship, is following up with many people who left their names. Germany Hill Methodist Church is having a picnic, while the Church of the Nazarene and Lakeview Chapel have Alpha groups established for people exploring faith or simply interested in learning more about Christ.
Pastor Terry Steenburg of Owego’s First Baptist Church is having discipleship classes at Common Ground across the street and kitty-corner to the fairgrounds, with the next scheduled class on Sept. 21 at 4 p.m.
No matter how God speaks to you, there is a congregation in Greater Owego that is waiting to welcome you. The tent revival was just the first step.