Two years ago, Larry Kline of Lawrence attended a United Methodist Men's conference at Purdue University that featured speakers such as the Rev. Tony Campolo, a nationally recognized evangelist, and Tom Osborne, former head football coach at Nebraska.
Billed as the "Christ's Men in the New Millennium 8th International United Methodist Men Congress," Kline was so impressed by the fellowship at the event that he wanted to create something similar in the Lawrence area.
The annual spiritual rally that Kline eventually organized for United Methodist Men will be held for the second time from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 16 in Rice Auditorium at Baker University in Baldwin.
"I wanted to take the information that I learned (at the Purdue event in 2001) and take it back to our conference. I felt I had the calling," said Kline, president of the United Methodist Men East Conference.
Last year, 133 men attended the spiritual rally in Baldwin. This time, Kline hoped attendance would reach 200.
"People came from all over Kansas and Missouri to participate. I hope men will pick up knowledge out of these workshops (at the rally) and take it back to their churches to develop active United Methodist Men's ministries," Kline said.
The sponsors of the rally are the Kansas East/West United Methodist Men's Conference and the Missouri United Methodist Men's Conference. Kline has headed a five-member committee that has organized the event.
Emanuel Cleaver II, former mayor of Kansas City, Mo., and a United Methodist pastor, and Tom Hedrick, a longtime sports play-by-play announcer in the Kansas City area, will serve as the rally's keynote speakers.
Cleaver is pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Mo., and was that city's first black mayor. He is host to his own radio talk show on KCUR 89.3 FM. Cleaver has been senior pastor of St. James for 25 years, building a congregation of more than 2,000 people.
Hedrick was one of the first sportscasters for the Kansas City Chiefs football team. He has also been a sportscaster for football and basketball games at Baker University. His father was a United Methodist pastor.
The spiritual rally will offer several workshops on topics such as men's prison ministries, United Methodist Men's programs, Volunteers in Mission, men's cardiac health and a United Methodist Men's panel discussion.
A choir from Valley View United Methodist Church will perform in the afternoon.
Bishop Fritz Mutti of the Kansas Conference of the United Methodist Church will conduct a Communion service at the rally.
The cost to attend the rally is $20 per person, or $15 with four or more attendees. The fee covers meals, snacks, class materials and the cost of instruction.
For more information about the event, or to obtain a registration form, call Kline at 843-4070.