London reverend preparing for 55-hour preaching marathon fundraiser
Reverend Kevin George is less than two days away from the start of a 55-hour marathon of preaching, raising funds for his church and two local charities.
It’s called ’55 Hours of Hope’ and the man they call Revy Kevy admits it's a daunting task but one he feels up to, "I mean, 55 sermons that are 55 minutes long is a lot of material."
George is the pastor at St. Aidan's Anglican Church in London, Ont.'s Hyde Park neigbourhood and took his cue from a Florida preacher who lasted slightly more than 53 hours.
He and his organizing team started with a $65,000 fundraising goal. That has ballooned to $85,000, and they will likely far surpass that.
“All summer we've had incredible support from a variety of businesses from across the city all of which were wrapped around my car," he says.
The funds raised will be shared by the church, women's support centre Anova and Jesse's Journey, a London, Ont.-based charity seeking a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Perry Esler is executive director for Jesse’s Journey, "It's not an easy job. He's doing an awful lot of work to put 55, 55-minute sermons together. But I think it's really about community spirit. And I think that's going to come through between Wednesday and Friday."
Just last week dentist Dr. Halim Sbenati paid $10,000 to be a title sponsor. Sbenati is a London native who recently returned to the city to set up a new clinic.
Laila Sbenati says her brother didn’t need much convincing when George approached him, "He always knew he wanted to be back in London to be part of the community and to give back to the community."
The event has taken on a festival feel; with a beer garden, musical performances and - during George's five minute breaks - there will be guest speakers.
According to George, "It's not every day you'll be able to enjoy a beverage and enjoy a sermon, but you'll be able to do both here."
The preaching will get underway on Wednesday morning and wrap up Friday afternoon, with sermon time split between the church grounds and, at night, inside the chapel.