More at To mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11, three Illinois United Methodist churches held an event to impact their community in a positive way. The idea behind Hope Fest 2011 was to reclaim September 11 as a day of hope. New Hope UMC, First UMC of Park Ridge, and First UMC of Des Plaines hosted several events including a blood drive, disaster relief training, and an opportunity for people to write ‘thank you’ notes to police and firefighters. Pastor Rich Darr of First United Methodist Church in Park Ridge said the idea was for church members to take church outside walls and “connect with God in service and outreach.” Learn more at