Senior adults 'soar unafraid'
May 3 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Senior adults 'soar unafraid' | Friday, May 3, 2002

Friday, May 3, 2002

Senior adults 'soar unafraid'

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

GREENSBORO - Headliners like Pat Boone and Meadowlark Lemon helped to attract more than 1,600 senior adults to Greensboro for the third North Carolina Senior Adult Festival sponsored by the Baptist State Convention (BSC), but ministry took center stage. The festival was held April 29-May 1 in the special events center of the Greensboro Coliseum.

A 700-voice senior adult choir performed for a packed house on the opening night, singing Joy in the Journey, a cantata written by Bob and Esther Burroughs. Bob Burroughs, former director of music for the Florida Baptist Convention, directed the choir.

Esther Burroughs, a former field staff director for the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board), delivered a series of interpretations on the festival theme "Soar Unafraid."

Wilmington native Meadowlark Lemon, former star of the Harlem Globetrotters, flashed his trademark smile and ball-handling skills as he talked about of the importance of sharing one's faith without fear.

Lemon spoke of a time when he sank a hook shot from the foul line on the opposite end of the basketball court. When a man said "Teach me how to do that," Lemon told him the shot had to come from the inside. He described his conversion in 1986 and his subsequent decision to become a minister as experiences in which God changed him from the inside out.

Singer Pat Boone, who set sales records in the 1950's, performed "A Wonderful Time Up There," a gospel song he took to the top of the charts during his "rock and roll" career. Boone's message focused on family values, and he encouraged seniors to exercise their faith in the public arena. "Our constitution was written by a Christian coalition," he said.

Attendees enjoyed the rollicking comedy of Carl Hurley, a former college teacher billed as "America's funniest professor." Hurley told seniors they still had contributions to make.

Gospel artist Cynthia Clawson, accompanied by Bruce Greer, exhibited a wide range of musical styles, moving seamlessly from hymns to plainsong to Celtic airs. Both Clawson and Greer are Dove Award winners.

While the "big name" entertainers were well received, the festivalgoers' warmest response was reserved for Cheryl Allen, who founded the "Door of Hope" ministry in Johannesburg, South Africa. Roy A. Smith, former on-site coordinator of the BSC's partnership with South Africa, introduced Allen as a fearless and faithful woman who is committed to serving Christ through helping others.

Allen, who is pastor of the Berea Baptist Mission in the inner-city Hillbrow section of Johannesburg, spoke of how thieves had recently sought to rob worshipers, and how she had survived a serious automobile accident with minor injuries. She thanked God for protection, but said "We accept from His hand whatever comes," whether good or bad.

Allen described the origin and growth of the Door of Hope, a ministry dedicated to saving babies who would otherwise be abandoned in the streets of Johannesburg. A 10-bedroom "baby house" in the suburbs has been functional for about two years, and an anonymous North Carolina donor recently contributed enough money to purchase another large house adjoining the church property and to operate it for a year. Allen said the ministry has helped more than 110 babies so far, and continues to expand.

The Berea church also provides food and other assistance for immigrants who flee violence in other parts of Africa, Allen said. She spoke of leading a girl to Christ, and then meeting her father, a man from Rwanda who now cares for his children and his brother's children. The man's wife, brother and brother's wife were all killed in the bloody conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. "He walked with the children through five countries on his way to Hillbrow," Allen said, as she spoke of appealing to friends to help feed the man's large family.

"We always rely on God alone," Allen said. "When God calls you to a ministry, you don't wait for the funds - you obey.

"We are learning every day to soar unafraid with God," Allen said.

Participants contributed more than $8,600 to an offering for the Door of Hope and Berea Baptist ministries.

"The Healing Force," a family of four African-American drummers/singers/story-tellers from Winston-Salem, set the stage for Allen's remarks.

Other entertainers and worship leaders included former Miss North Carolina Jeanne Robertson, popular speaker and author Calvin Miller, Raleigh minister Pepper Choplin, retired church music professor Max Lyall (currently minister of music at Woodbrook Baptist Church in Baltimore), and Christian composer/recording artist Luke Garrett.

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5/3/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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