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Spiritual leaders launch new goals for citizens
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Spiritual leaders work on future community action plans. Standing are the Rev. Dave Tristani, left, associate pastor of the Praise Cathedral Renewal Center, and the Rev. John Harnett, pastor of St. Giles Episcopal Church. Seated left to right are the Rev. Lionel Cabral, executive director of the Suncoast Haven of Rest Rescue Mission, Mayor Bill Mischler and the Rev. William J. Oakley, pastor of the First United Methodist Church.
PINELLAS PARK – City religious leaders of all denominations promised more involvement in community affairs due to the success of the recent Power Unlimited event at the England Brother Bandshell.

More than 800 participants attended the body building carnival. The theme was Christianity. Food baskets, video games, bicycles and other items were distributed to disadvantaged families.

With more than 40 churches in the city that range from storefront meeting halls to cathedrals, more religious leaders are expected to become involved in future events.

Spearheading the drive is the Pinellas Park Ministerial Association, spurred by Mayor Bill Mischler’s pastor’s meetings.

“We preach the word of God and help the people of the community,” said the Rev. Dave Tristani, associate pastor and director of outreach ministries at Praise Cathedral Renewal Center, 4371 76th Ave. N.

Tristani, a former professional photographer and WCW wrestler who grappled under the name of Good Guy Devin Nash, is the association spokesman.

“We want to involve more religious leaders of all denominations,” Tristani said. “We also want to reach out to the citizenry to renew their faith in God.”

The association was formed four years ago with a memorial to the victims of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. Clergymen meet informally each month and on Aug. 4 decided to make a concerted effort to get other church leaders involved.

“We want everyone to come together,” said the Rev. John Hartnett, pastor of St. Giles Episcopal Church, at 8271 52nd St. N.

Plans for at least four new annual events, ranging from Christian musicals, to be scheduled.

The Rev. Lionel Cabral, executive director of the Suncoast Haven of Rest Rescue Mission, at 5625 Park Blvd., said the new focus has revived his interest in the association.

“We must get the word out,” said Cabral, whose mission aids the homeless and other unfortunates.

His comments were echoed by the Rev. William J. Oakley, pastor of the First United Methodist Church at 9025 49th St. N.

Tristani, meanwhile, said the aim of the events will be to spread the word of God and to help people facing unfortunate circumstances.

“There are many success stories in Pinellas Park,” he said. “We want to ensure that there will be a lot more.”

One worker at the Tristani’s center is a former homeless man who once lived in a tent on the outskirts of town. Two others currently are in Los Angeles studying for the ministry.

“We want to help turn people’s lives around,” Tristani said.
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