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Published: Saturday, 10/18/2008

Pastors of largest U.S. church plan Detroit visit

The Rev. Joel Osteen and his wife, Victoria, will hold a  Night of Hope  at the Palace of Auburn
Hills near Detroit on Friday. The Rev. Joel Osteen and his wife, Victoria, will hold a Night of Hope at the Palace of Auburn Hills near Detroit on Friday.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich.- The Rev. Joel and Victoria Osteen, pastors of the largest church in the United States, will hold a "Night of Hope" worship event on Friday at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

The couple are pastors of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, which was founded by Joel's father, the late John Osteen, on Mother's Day, 1959. The nondenominational church has an average attendance of 43,500 per weekend.

The Osteens will give an inspirational message at the Night of Hope service, which starts at 7:30 p.m. Praise and worship music will be presented by the Lakewood Band and Ensemble and Dove Award-winning singer Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff.

Mr. Osteen is the author of best-selling books Your Best Life Now and Become a Better You, and Mrs. Osteen is the author of Love Your Life.

John Osteen started Lakewood Church with 90 people in an abandoned feed store and oversaw its growth to 6,000 members before his death of a heart attack in 1999.

Joel had worked at the church for 17 years in the video ministry but had only preached one sermon at Lakewood when he took the reins.

Today, Lakewood Church holds seven services each weekend, including one in Spanish, in the former Compaq Center in downtown Houston.

Mr. Osteen, 45, told Larry King that his basic message is to encourage people "to become all that God created you to be."

The "Night of Hope" event has been held across the United States and in Canada, England, Northern Ireland, and Israel.

Joel and Victoria Osteen will sign copies of their books at noon Friday at Borders, 45290 Utica Park Blvd., in the Detroit suburb of Utica, Mich.

Tickets to the Night of Hope event at the Palace are $15, available at the box office or Ticketmaster outlets.

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