Passion 2013 draws more than 60,000 young people to Georgia Dome

More than 60,000 people are in Atlanta this week for Passion 2013, a faith-filled gathering that reaches out to students and young adults.

The event, which ends Friday at the Georgia World Congress Center and the Georgia Dome, was organized by Louie Giglio in 1997 as a way to reach students and young adults who are Christian or interested in learning more about the faith.

Passion has grown into one of the largest annual gatherings of young Christians in the United States. This year, the four-day conference has drawn young people, between the ages of 18 and 25, from 54 different nations and more than 2,000 colleges and universities.

The event, which has seen heavy Twitter traffic, included prominent speakers and performers including Seattle pastor and author Judah Smith and performers Chris Tomlin and Lecrae.

Among those attending is Kelsey Harding, 20, a college student and Roswell resident.

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Harding, who has attended other Passion events, said it “really helps me realign myself and focus on the only one that matters: Jesus.”

After attending Passion 2012, Harding    made it a point to volunteer with her college’s International Justice Mission chapter. The human rights organization helps victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery and oppression.

“Passion also helped me realize how blessed I am,” she said. “As much as I complain about being a ‘poor college student,’ I still have the room to give financially to help organizations like IJM set people free.”

Participants brought socks and towels to be donated to Atlanta, Nashville and Gulf Coast homeless shelters.

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