From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
More than 500 Attend Northwest Evangelism Celebration
04 May 1996 16:05:58
96114 More than 500 Attend Northwest Evangelism Celebration
by Jerry L. Van Marter
BELLEVUE, Wash.--Nearly 550 Presbyterians gathered at First Presbyterian
Church here March 13-16 for the first of three evangelism celebrations
scheduled this year in various parts of the country.
Hosted by the Synod of Alaska-Northwest, "Witness the Joy"
participants explored aspects and issues of evangelism through worship,
personal testimony and 48 workshops.
Opening worship preacher the Rev. Ben Johnson of Columbia Theological
Seminary used the story from Luke's gospel of the disciples in the upper
room to emphasize the need for Christians to witness not just among
themselves but in the world as well. He pointed out that Jesus, visiting
the disciples in the upper room, called them to leave that closed place and
go out into the world.
The Rev. Heidi Husted, pastor of Columbia Presbyterian Church in
Vancouver, Wash., echoed Johnson. She reminded participants that all are
given a message to share. Carlos Cardoza-Orlandi of Columbia Seminary used
the vision of Peter and the conversion of Cornelius in Acts 10 to suggest
that even people of faith sometimes need converting.
Cardoza-Orlandi, who teaches world Christianity, said Peter was
converted to a new perspective by the faith of Cornelius, an outsider.
"American Christians are called to evangelize," he said, "but also must be
evangelized by those whose experience of Christ is different than theirs."
Storytelling was the form used by keynote speaker the Rev. Jim
Singleton, pastor of Whitworth Presbyterian Church in Spokane, Wash., as he
surveyed the history of Presbyterian evangelism in the United States.
Bible study throughout the conference was led by the Rev. Dale Bruner
of Whitworth College. He used the encounter of Jesus and Nicodemus to
illustrate three aspects of evangelism:
the human need for new birth and new life
God's love for the world, which through Jesus Christ brought the
promise and reality of
the baptism of water and the Holy Spirit that commissions
believers to be bearers of new
life in the world.
In closing worship, the Rev. Donald McCullough, president of San
Francisco Theological Seminary, addressed the issue of available resources
through the story of the feeding of the 5,000. He challenged the
participants to take their gifts and resources, as did the followers in the
story, and place them in the service of Jesus. One such resource is
prayer, he said.
"If we spent as much time praying for the work of the General Assembly
as we do criticizing it, think what might be accomplished," McCullough
Two evangelism celebrations are scheduled for the fall: Oct. 16-18 in
Toledo, Ohio, and Oct. 23-26 in Phoenix, Ariz. They are sponsored by the
Evangelism and Church Development Program Area of the National Ministries
Division in Louisville and Presbyterians For Renewal, along with the synods
and presbyteries in the area.
(Information for this story was furnished by the Rev. Douglas Wilson,
associate for Presbyterian evangelism.)
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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