January 2016




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5427 Twin Knolls Road
Columbia, MD  21045
Tel: (410) 997-3414
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WGTS Organizes Saturday Evening Worship Service

Story and Photos by Celeste Ryan Blyden

Chaplain Terry Johnsson 

Now that WGTS 91.9 FM has become the second largest contemporary Christian radio station in the United States, they’re feverishly working to engage listeners beyond the airwaves. This year they’ve coordinated a mission trip to Swaziland, an evangelism effort in South Africa, and a Baltic Sea cruise. Recently through their burgeoning chaplaincy ministry, led by Pastor Terry Johnsson and his assistant chaplain Pete Garza, they started a worship service called Gateway Fellowship and invited their 600,000 listeners to attend.

Nearly 400 showed up for their inaugural service last Saturday night in the chapel at Takoma Academy in Takoma, Park, Md., not far from the station’s headquarters at Washington Adventist University. For nearly two hours, under the theme “Loving God and Loving People,” station announcers Becky Alignay, Brennan Wimbish, Blanca Vega and Jon Conway; vice president and general manager John Konrad; chaplains Johnsson and Garza; a praise team and band; and a small army of volunteer prayer warriors inoculated attendees with their “family-friendly” music favorites and “positive, encouraging” messages.

“Gateway Fellowship is a unique evangelistic outreach ministry giving opportunity for radio listeners to become better acquainted with Jesus Christ and His church,” says Neville Harcombe, executive secretary of the Columbia Union Conference and the station’s president. “Through it we will provide weekly programs emphasizing spiritual renewal and Bible studies.”

To that end, organizers invited Christian recording artist Heather Williams to share her music and testimony of giving up drinking and drugs, losing her baby and becoming a Christian. Johnsson followed with a short devotional and invited attendees forward for special prayer. “Wow! I’m so excited that you came out. But you have not come to this place by accident tonight,” he told them. “The Lord has plans for your life.” He then invited them to come back for each week and especially for an evening of prayer and praise December 4.