Monday, November 19, 2007

A Great and Memorable Anniversary

I’m not often caught short for words, but I am in describing how wonderful this past Saturday was for my brother, Paul, and me, our families and our ministry team. Nearly 350 friends packed the ballroom of the Washington Renaissance Hotel for an evening of good food, fellowship and challenge as Paul and I celebrated 25 years of unbroken Christian service.

Just walking into that elegantly decorated room made obvious all the very, very hard work done by our co-chairs, Faith and Action supporters Wayne and Melissa Newsome, and, of course, our dedicated staff team led by Peggy Birchfield. Joining them were many, many volunteers. What a table they set!

Perhaps you were there to hear the fabulous 60–voice New Antioch Baptist Church choir ensemble. They lit up the place! So did our long-time friend Pat Mahoney, the most energetic, entertaining and edgy MC we’ve engaged for an event like this. Pat was perfect—and hilarious!

Our speakers were dynamic and exceedingly generous in their comments about Paul and me and the ministries we’ve led. Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice and one of the top constitutional lawyers in America (and around the world), spoke very kindly about our partnership over the last twenty years. Dr. Charles Nestor, one of the truly great pulpiteers left in this country, reflected on the 30 years we’ve walked together. (I say that with every bit of irony, because Charles doesn’t do much walking now. His body is bound to a wheelchair by MS, but his spirit is unquenchable!) Charles was as electrifying as ever once his elevated automatic chair brought him back to the sacred desk!

Others who spoke Saturday evening included pro-life champion Fr. Frank Pavone, senior United States Senator Orrin Hatch, Ambassador from Morocco Aziz Mekouar, Christian philanthropist and radio talk show host Steve Peroutka, former Navy chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt (who fought a victorious battle for the rights of chaplains to pray in Jesus’ name) and Pastor Kenneth Barney of the New Antioch church. Somebody said it well at the end of the night, “You held a dinner and church broke out!”

Speaking of church, we had plenty of churches represented in the room. Many of our supporting churches were there; congregational representatives from New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and Utah, just to name a few of their home bases.

And there were plenty of old and new friends who lead great ministries themselves: Wendy Wright of Concerned Women of America, Bill Murray of Religious Freedom Coalition, Joe Griebowski of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, Johnny Hunter of Life, Education and Resource Network, and precious Norma McCorvey, the once and former “Jane Roe” of the infamous Roe v. Wade case. Today, Norma is a tireless champion of the Gospel of Life!

A few other notables who joined us Saturday:

- Dr. Jim Hutson, premiere U.S. historian and top authority on Jefferson and the truth about the so-called “Separation of Church and State.”

- Rev. Pierre Bynum, pastoral ministry coordinator at the Family Research Council

- Harry Valentine of Capitol Hill Prayer Alert

- Ohio Judge Randy Rogers whose book, From the Bench, tells heartwarming stories of adoption miracles from his own courtroom.

- World War II hero General Mil Roberts, who stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day, surviving against incredible odds to penetrate deep behind enemy lines.

Paul and I will never be able to say enough to thank so many for making one night so memorable. But as I said in my short remarks afterwards, “it’s nice to look back, but it’s always challenging to look forward. It’s not so much what’s gone before, but what lies ahead that concerns us.”

Capital Club financial supporters will soon receive a CD compilation of Paul’s and my messages at the anniversary gala, together with the other speakers and photos from this special evening. Others will be able to order it online or obtain it for a contribution by calling 202-546-8329, extension 104. You’ll also see it at our materials table when I’m out in speaking in churches.

Thank you for making this first quarter-century possible through your prayers, friendship and partnership. I keep saying over and over, we couldn’t do what God has called us to do if you didn’t faithfully do what God has called you to do. God willing and delaying Jesus’ return, Paul and I now embark on our next quarter-century and longer. There’s still so much work to do!

Be back later . . .