From the Worldwide Faith News archives

More than 500 Attend Northwest Evangelism Celebration

Date 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 
          new life 
          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   Web page: 


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