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Revival adds to West Side's cultural mix

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

As immigrants carry their traditions and customs into Buffalo's West Side,  a new cultural mix is emerging. Inside that backdrop, a large white tent featuring an old-fashioned revival and a TV evangelist seems very much in place.

A vacant lot along Niagara Street has sprouted a big white tent and TV equipment, as TV evangelist Ted Shuttlesworth has come to town for a week-long tent revival, working with the Buffalo Dream Center. He's a preacher who prays for the sick to become well, in programs which are broadcast across much of the world from his base in West Virginia.

"Watch out for people that are racist. Be careful when you get around people that speak against other people," Shuttlesworth told a large gathering on Sunday night.

"When you speak against somebody else, you disqualify yourself to help them because you've spoken against them. But, Jesus wants us to love everybody."

The event brought out visitors from the many ethnic groups which have immigrated to the West Side in recent decades, from many religions.

"He (Shuttlesworth) has a great message from the Bible for people and he really, really is a genuine preacher," explained Michelle Johns, Co-Pastor of the Buffalo Dream Center. 

"As a matter of fact, Brother Ted Shuttlesworth Ministry has paid for this whole, entire event. They've probably spent $25-to-30,000 to bring all this equipment, everything to Buffalo. We're not taking up any offerings any night. It's free for the community."

To add to the mission,  Johns says the center will give away hundreds of food bags during the revival, along with items like X-Boxes and big-screen TVs.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.