Sunday, August 19, 2007


Your missionary to Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, Rob Schenck, reporting:

This is a blog posting on how I spent my summer vacation. That’s right, vacation! Cheryl and I actually managed to break loose and take a literal sabbatical—seven whole days of rest. I even surprised myself when I kept my mobile phone off for the entire time and checked my E-mail only once! This is groundbreaking for me—the hypocritical Sabbath breaker himself! I wrote about the importance of God’s Seventh-Day rest—oddly, seven years ago—in my then newly released book on the Ten Commandments, Ten Words That Will Change A Nation. The second edition of the book will soon be released (watch for news at our website: )—and it’s taken me all this time to begin living out that fourth chapter, aptly titled Holy R&R!

OK, enough confession, and on to what Cheryl I did after we stowed away to Nassau in The Bahamas. Cashing in on all my travel points we booked into the British Colonial Hilton with its very nice and private beach and downtown location. You can walk out the front door into a mid-day traffic jam as bad as anything in Metro Washington, DC, or out the back door onto some of the whitest sand and bluest water you’ll ever see. The Bahamas are as friendly, but not nearly as clean, as I imagined them to be. One thing that clearly stood out was the absence of the acute anxiety Americans exhibit over the so-called “separation of church and state.” There aren’t many religiophobes in The Islands, mahn! Everything is “Gaud bless you,” “Have a blessed day,” “Praise Gaud,” and “Tanks Gaud!” Such unapologetic public acknowledgments of God were refreshing.

We punctuated our days of sunning, swimming, touring and boating with two important worship experiences: Sunday morning at the Zion Baptist Church in the pink building on Shirley Street and a Wednesday noon mass at the historic Anglican Cathedral. Zion Baptist is the largest church on New Providence Island. The congregation has a rich history of ministry to the black population, beginning as a mission in 1837 to newly freed slaves. From where Cheryl and I sat in the nineteenth-century sanctuary, we were the only white faces in the crowd. It’s a healthy exercise to turn that feeling around once in a while.

We actually happened upon the Wednesday mass, originally intending to simply tour Christ Church Cathedral, established in 1670. The present building on George Street dates to 1841. It’s every bit the classic stone Gothic Revival structure I saw so much of in England while on preaching tours years ago. Sculpted memorial plaques also decorated the sanctuary, as they do in the Motherland. When I asked the church secretary if there would be a service of Holy Communion we could attend, she said pleasantly but laconically, “It’s at 12:30 if we can get a priest; in the chapel.” I thanked her and Cheryl and I sauntered into the quaint chapel. There were only two others in the pews and we waited about 15 minutes until the priest entered, ringing a chime made of nine bells. (By then one more soul had joined us.) The priest was the Very Reverend Patrick L. Adderly and he led a very warm, Evangelical-friendly service, including some old-time favorite Gospel tunes like “Love Lifted Me” and charismatic choruses popular in the 1970’s like “Spirit of the Living God.” The miniscule fellowship, congenial hospitality, inspiring homily and my opportunity to recite the litany of prayers made for a delightfully surprising afternoon.

We returned late Friday just ahead of Hurricane Dean that was never expected to hit our island. As of this writing the storm is quite a bit south of the Bahamas, heading for Jamaica. May the Lord spare those in its path.

Now I turn my attention back home to the work of Faith and Action and to the team that kept everything moving while I was gone. We’ve got a great group of gifted people here with unique talents, God-given abilities and a real commitment to this mission. I’m grateful to the Lord for each one. They--and you--are the reason I could relax as I did.

Foremost on the agenda is our upcoming 25th Anniversary Gala at the Renaissance Hotel, November 17. Hard to believe we got underway a quarter-century ago. We moved to Capitol Hill in 1994 and launched our present work with a rally in the Renaissance’s ballroom. A lot has happened during all these years, and it’s in answer to your prayers and as a result of your generosity and encouragement. Be sure to be here to celebrate with us all that God has done and will do! Get your tickets now online—and, please, consider being a sponsor of this memorable event!

And watch the postings at this blog—there’ll soon be more surprises to write about . . .

Grateful to be back in the saddle,

Rev. Rob Schenck

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