Founded in 2014 in response to growing global discontent and divides – social, economic, religious, to name a few – the New England Festival Of Hope promotes a hopeful message for a united future.

Pro athletes Dwight Evans, Kevin Robinson and Teal Bunbury have more than just their New England sports notoriety in common. Each athlete professes a strong belief in and reliance on their Christian faith.  These athletes along with organizers from 15 New England churches will gather this Sunday, September 11 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Easton’s Beach in Newport, Rhode Island.

The athletes will share their inspirational testimony at the 3rd Annual New England Festival of Hope.

A notable organizer of the event includes Walt Day, Director of Athletes in Action Pro Sports Ministry.  Former Chaplain to both the New England Patriots and the Boston Red Sox, Day also served in ministry to the members of the Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins and New England Revolution.  Day is Warwick, RI native and includes time spent working with the Pawtucket Red Sox in his past experience.  He will share stories of his time spent with professional athletes and their efforts to serve those in need.

Also featured in the speaking line up is Red Sox Hall of Famer Dwight Evans. Evans spent 18 years with the Boston Red Sox and was honored with 8 Gold Glove Awards and 2 Silver Slugger Awards.  Evans, nicknamed “Dewey,” was a favorite with fans and teammates.  In 2000 he received the additional honor of being inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame and voted on the “All Fenway Team” as the Red Sox all-time best right fielder.

Evans will be joined by his wife Susan Severson and they will present the role their faith has played in their lives.

Teal Bunbury, midfielder for the New England Revolution has been playing soccer since a very young age.  Born in Ontario, Canada, Bunbury was raised in Faribault, MN.  Early on he played youth soccer for the Canada Nation team and then moved to the U.S. National Team. In fact, he notes his best soccer memory was when he made his debut with the U.S. Team in      2010 in the match against South Africa.

Bunbury has family ties to the world of professional soccer; his father Alex Bunbury played for 15 years for teams in the United States, England, Portugal and Canada.  Teal will speak via a specially recorded message for the Festival of Hope and share the role his faith has played in his life.

 
Kevin Robinson, BMX X-Game gold medalist and Guinness World Record holder will speak and present a live demonstration at the Festival.  One of the most creative BMX riders in the sport’s history, Robinson was a founder of the original “Extreme Games” held in Newport, RI in 1995.

 
On August 15, 2016, while being covered live by ESPN, Robinson set a new Guiness World Record for  the longest power assisted bicycle backflip reaching 84 feet.   Robinson returns to his love of BMX tricks when he demonstrates at the Festival of Hope.  His presentation will include positive character education as he reaches out to youth in the audience.

 
In honor of the 15th anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11, the Festival will also provide the patriotic sounds of the Navy Band Northeast as well as an honor guard and gun salute.  Additional guest speakers include RI Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, and City of Newport Vice Chair Marco T. Camacho.

 
The diverse musical line-up at this year’s Festival includes contemporary Christian performers Kimo Baker; Zac Lenz; Jonny Geeze and his band; local Newport Christian rapper Chris McCabe; and Gospel singer Kenneth KW Johnson.
This event is family friendly and free for all to participate.  For more information visit www.nefestivalofhope.com.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).