Harvest of Hope: Uniting D.C. Churches

By Leigh Harper, October 28, 2016

Paula Safran began dreaming of this weekend’s Harvest of Hope Believers Conference after becoming disheartened by the lack of connectivity among churches in the Washington, D.C., area.

“What I found was that each [church] I visited was doing great things on its own, but there wasn’t any pooling of resources or coming together,” says Safran, sales and catering director of West Belmont Place Event Center. “Everyone was competing for attendance and time to serve the same charities.”

Safran felt God prompting her to do something, and the idea of a cross-denominational gathering was born. She presented her thoughts to her co-workers who responded with enthusiasm and began brainstorming how to support her vision and keep costs low.

The results will be seen Friday and Saturday, when Christians of all denominations gather at the 65-acre West Belmont Place Event Center in Leesburg, Virginia—about 45 minutes outside D.C. So far, 125 attendees—far higher than the initial goal of 75—have registered to talk about renewing hope and how to serve more effectively.

“I want to bring people together and remind them that we’re here for one purpose,” says Safran. “We’re all on mission, and we [need to] talk about how to better serve one another and restore hope during this time of unrest in our country and in the world.”

Safran says the speakers, including leadership guru Janet Ford and former NFL player Eddie Mason, will aim to uplift the group with comedic but poignant messages. The 45-member Liberty Worship Collective from Liberty University will lead worship throughout the weekend, including an acoustic set outdoors on Friday evening. D.C. area Christian radio station WAVA is working with West Belmont Place as a media sponsor and has been advertising the event.

Beyond the general sessions, attendees will be able to relax among West Belmont Place’s fire pits, fitness trails and retreat-esque atmosphere.

“It’s for anyone who wants to be inspired,” says Safran. “If we touch one person to do better and make a difference in the world, then we’ve done what God has asked us to do.”

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