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Worship Sunday morning at the Willmar Civic Center

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A group of eight Willmar churches will conduct a joint worship service 10 a.m. Sunday at the Willmar Civic Center.

Church leaders from Assembly of God, Evangelical Free, First Baptist, First Covenant, First Reform, Word of Faith, Harvest Community Church and Nazarene Church have spent months working together to organize the 9/11 anniversary event.

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Local emergency and law enforcement personnel have been invited to attend the service in uniform and the offering will be used to purchase vehicles for local rescue groups.

Pastor Keith Kerstetter from Assembly of God said helmets from emergency crews will be passed around to collect the offering, which will be used to purchase $20,000 gator utility vehicles outfitted with emergency equipment.

Organizers hope enough money is donated during this one joint church service to purchase at least two vehicles that can be used for rescue missions where traditional emergency vehicles cannot be used.

"We're going to give that offering to the community," said Kerstetter.

Although the eight churches have cooperated in community projects, this is the first time they've forfeited their own individual Sunday morning church services in exchange for one joint worship service.

"It's a way to mobile the spiritual community," said Kerstetter. "We know we're better together."

The pastors from all eight churches will have roles in the service and music will include a mass choir and worship bands from the different churches. A special flag-folding ceremony with the Honor Guard will be part of the service as well.

The church leaders are expecting a big crowd that could exceed the Civic Center's maximum capacity of 3,200 people. The indoor adjoining ice rink will be used as an overflow for children.

"It's just been a great opportunity for churches to work together," said Kerstetter. "We serve a big God."

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