Joel Osteen, the pastor of a megachurch in Houston, drew about 37,000 people to a Chicago ballpark for “America’s Night of Hope” Saturday, where he announced that Washington, D.C., would be the next city for the annual event taking place in April 2012.

Joel Osteen’s Facebook page messages poured in from hundreds of participants from around the world who seemed charged with fresh enthusiasm after the event at the U.S. Cellular Field, the home of the Chicago White Sox.

“Keep bringing Hope to the people, cities & nations,” wrote one Maderia Porter.

“I’m a better person each and every day because of you,” said Kathleen Hennessey-Buchanan.

“I couldn’t help but feel uplifted as we walked out of there,” wrote another participant, Mike Donnelly.

Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, the largest church in America, told the audience, “You wouldn’t be alive unless God had another victory in store for you. You need to get ready, because jubilee is on the way,” amid rounds of applause and cheers.

Osteen, who has written several books, is also a televangelist who reaches millions of viewers around the world through his television ministry.

“He’s got such a warm, positive message. It’s infectious,” the Chicago Sun-Times quoted a 29-year-old participant, Mike Jasinski of Ingleside, as saying. “You can’t help smiling when he starts talking.”

Jasinski, who rediscovered his faith during Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, said he had been watching Osteen’s television program for years, and seeing him Saturday was a reminder of how faith changed his life.

Osteen’s wife, Victoria, also spoke at the gathering. She warned them against what “this world, this economy” would like them to believe: “‘I can’t,’ that we’re hopeless, we’re helpless and our hands are tied.”

“But we’re going to celebrate the ‘I can,’” she said.

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