Churches from Oregon to South Carolina are preparing to preach to people who are expected to flock to 14 states to witness the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21.
Millions are expected to gather in Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina to watch the sky go dark when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. The phenomenon is expected to begin after 10 a.m. local time in Lincoln Beach, Oregon, and is expected to take an hour and a half to pass over those 14 states.
Churches in the path of the total eclipse are planning an array of events to preach the gospel to the millions of people who want to view the total eclipse.
Mountain View Baptist Church and College Heights Baptist Church in Casper Wyoming are working with Child Evangelism Fellowship of Central Wyoming to purchase copies of a DVD titled "God of Wonders," which explains how creation reveals God and how salvation is available through Jesus Christ. Members of the church are planning to distribute the DVDs along with 3,000 evangelistic bookmarks.
In Lincoln, Nebraska, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) has scheduled the launch of Hope City to correspond with the eclipse. The congregation plans to distribute 2,000 "college survival kits" at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on the day of its first service on Aug. 20 and on the day of the solar eclipse.
"These kits will be filled with ramen noodles and Pop Tarts, as well as the book of John and some other Gospel-oriented things," said Hope City pastor Logan Merrick, according to Baptist Press.
In Missouri, the Grand Oaks Baptist Assembly will be hosting a "Wonders of Creation Solar Eclipse Family Retreat" on Aug. 20–21. The retreat will reportedly include activities such as mini-golf, hiking, swimming and an opportunity to learn about the eclipse from a Christian worldview perspective.
Meanwhile, H.R. Ministries in Princeton, Kentucky is preparing to host a three day festival called SolQuest for the purpose of evangelizing to the people who are expected to converge on the small town to view the eclipse. People from across the globe are reportedly making plans to travel to Kentucky because it is said to have some of the best seats in the country to watch the phenomenon.
"They're projecting somewhere around 250,000 people in our area. We have a town that's got 6,000," Harrell Riley, director of H.R. Ministries, told CBN News.
"We're about 1.2 miles off of NASA's pinpoint marker on the map that shows the greatest place for total eclipse," he added.
Riley's ministry has partnered with local farmer David Ginn, who cleared 75 acres of his land for the evangelistic outreach, which will include events such as a tent revival, concerts, activities for children and a Q & A session with a Christian scientist.
"Our goal is as they come, what better way than to show them that the creator who put the sun and the moon and the stars up there, wants a relationship with them," said Riley.