Evangelist Benny Hinn, an internationally known faith healer with a popular television ministry, is expected to attract standing-room-only crowds when he brings his "Miracle Crusade" to HSBC Arena in downtown Buffalo on Thursday and Friday.
Hinn, who has been conducting international crusades since 1990, will hold a "Miracle Service" at 7 p.m. Thursday and again at 7 p.m. Friday. Admission is free.
In addition, he will conduct an "Anointing Service" for area pastors only at 10 a.m. Friday.
"We're expecting a huge crowd," said Kate Smith, a spokeswoman for HSBC Arena, who added that the arena will be set up to seat about 19,000.
"Generally, he not only fills arenas of that size but, unfortunately, people are turned away. That's the rule," said David Brokaw, Hinn's spokesman.
During a two-day crusade in 1993, Hinn, whose trademark attire is a white linen suit, attracted 24,000 people to the Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center.
A Pentecostal, Hinn is controversial because of the faith healings he performs during his crusades.
Critics claim that many of the people who say they are healed find that the condition is only temporary. The ministry says it can provide documented cases of permanent cures.
A charismatic figure with a huge following, Hinn conducts about two dozen crusades a year throughout the United States, Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East. His daily television program, "This Is Your Day," is seen in more than 190 countries.
Hinn also has written several books, including "Good Morning, Holy Spirit," which has sold more than 4 million copies.
Greatly influenced by the ministry of the late evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman, Hinn began his ministry in 1974 in Oshawa, Ont. Within a short time, he was holding weekly healing meetings in Toronto that attracted thousands.
In the early 1980s, he moved to Orlando, Fla., where he became pastor of the World Outreach Center. His organization, Benny Hinn Ministries, moved from Orlando to Irving, Texas, in 1999.
The ministry also operates the World Media Center in Aliso Viejo, Calif., where the television production facilities are located.
Born in Israel into a Palestinian family of Greek and Armenian heritage, Hinn was raised in the Greek Orthodox Church and educated in Catholic schools. After moving to Canada with his family in 1968, he became a charismatic Christian in 1972.