Purchase photos

Annual festival a celebration of faith




The 22nd annual Festival of Faith on Sunday afternoon provided an opportunity for those gathered to sing, laugh and celebrate their faith.

Van Crouch, a minister and motivational speaker from the Chicago area, used his personal experiences such as serving as chaplain for the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bears to entertain the audience.

His message -- how to turn water into wine or enrich life through faith -- was laced with humor.

Crouch related the moment when he pulled his car to the side of the road and "prayed a simple prayer."

He applauded the partnership between the Ellis County Ministerial Alliance and Hays Area Chamber of Commerce in sponsoring the event.

Crouch said he's never been to a town where such groups do "a great job of simply stopping to say thank you and thanks unto God for the many blessings we have."

Local pastors have a great heritage of working together and working with the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce, said Wes Oakley, president of ECMA and pastor of Westview Church.

The Chamber is pleased to be "part of this wonderful and unique program of bringing together the community, the businesses and their faith," said Tammy Wellbrock, HACC executive director.

Steve and Linda Mosier have attended every year since the festival started.

"This is my favorite event in Hays," Linda Mosier said. "The fact that we get together one time a year, one hour, together under Christ, I just think is amazing."

"It's great to see the whole community come together and be able to put our differences aside and say we're connected by Jesus Christ," said Leslie Radius, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church.

"Van brought a great message that inspired us."