Phoenix Fest Celebrates Ministry and Success in Cleveland, Tennessee
By: Eric Short
In a grand celebration of faith, music, and community, The Salvation Army of Cleveland, TN marked a triumphant 12th annual Phoenix Fest on Saturday, October 7. This year’s Phoenix Fest, which is dedicated to celebrating the ministry’s successes, particularly those that have stemmed from their unique Inman Coffee ministry, proved to be the biggest one yet. The event, which typically takes place on Inman Street in Cleveland, found a new home at The Greenway this year, drawing an even larger crowd of attendees.
The heart of the festival was the music, and the lineup did not disappoint. Headlined by the renowned Christian superband Sanctus Real, the event featured a diverse array of talent, including Jordan Smith, winner of The Voice Season 9, the dynamic duo Social Club Misfits, and the exceptionally talented American Idol runner-up Clark Beckham. The stage also welcomed local favorites Rob Alderman & The Unfortunate Return and the Dove-award winning singer/songwriter Gary Chapman.
At the core of Phoenix Fest and The Salvation Army’s mission in Cleveland lies Inman Coffee. This unique ministry serves a dual purpose – it offers a space where young adults and youth from the community can come together, hang out, be mentored, ask questions, and feel God’s love in a safe and welcoming environment. Additionally, Inman Coffee has been a stalwart supporter of the live music scene in Cleveland for over a decade, serving as a launching pad for many talented artists who took the stage on Saturday.
Kari Ray, who leads the band Kari and The Grey Papers, shared her personal testimony during the event, shedding light on the transformative power of Inman Coffee and The Salvation Army. “I was in a really dark spot at one point,” Kari reflected. “I was able to come to Inman and have emotions and feel safe, and Inman is that place for so many people. I’m very thankful for Inman Coffee and The Salvation Army.”
Sergeant Ruth Forgey, The Salvation Army’s corps administrator in Cleveland, emphasized the spiritual significance of Phoenix Fest: “Phoenix Fest is a big demonstration of our praise to the Lord today. Everything was done with prayer and intention.” She further noted, “One of our mottos at Inman Coffee is ‘Drink Coffee, Change Lives,’ and today we are celebrating the lives changed by this ministry.”
Major Doug McClure, Area Commander for The Salvation Army of Greater Chattanooga, remarked, “Phoenix Fest is a shining example of the incredible work our community can achieve when we come together in faith and support one another. The power of music and ministry was on full display today, and it’s a testament to the positive impact we can have when we unite for a greater purpose.”
The anticipation is already building for what the next Phoenix Fest will bring, as it continues to serve as a beacon of faith, music, coffee, and community in Cleveland.
As the sun set over The Greenway on that Saturday evening and the bands played on, the spirit of Phoenix Fest burned bright, leaving attendees inspired, uplifted, and eager for what the future holds for The Salvation Army’s mission in Cleveland. In a world often marked by division and discord, events like Phoenix Fest remind us of the power of faith, music, and community to bring people together and create positive change in the world.