Two major Voice of Prophecy rallies have recently been held in the Southern Asia Division—one at Calcutta and the other at Bombay. Sufficient time has now elapsed to enable us to evaluate such gatherings.
PURPOSE.—The purpose of such rallies is : (I ) to form a personal link of friendship between the Bible school students and the director of the school and other members of the staff who may be able to attend; (2) to acquaint our students with the location of our churches ; (3) to help break down the prejudice felt by non-Christian students toward attending a Christian church; (4) to encourage our students to make our churches their church home and our church pastors their spiritual advisers; (5) to prepare the way for spearhead or regular evangelistic meetings in our churches; and (6) to make the Voice of Prophecy follow-up work easier by introducing our students to the local field representatives.
TECHNIQUE.—A very cordial letter of invitation is sent to every student within a reasonable radius of the church in which the rally is to be held. The students are invited to meet the director of the school and see two impressive sound films, "The Glendale Voice of Prophecy in Action" and "The Birth of a New World" (Daniel 2). At the beginning, after a brief musical program and prayer, the director and other representatives are introduced. Then the pictures follow. At the close the pastor of the church is introduced, and a special appeal is made to the students to make this church their church home. Special Sunday night meetings are then announced. After the benediction personal greetings between students and representatives are exchanged.
RESULTS.—At Calcutta the program had to be repeated in order to accommodate the crowd. After the first meeting about 125 Voice of Prophecy students remained behind to meet the director and others. A number of the students have continued to come regularly to church since then.
In Bombay the large church was crowded to capacity with most of the church members standing, An attendance of seventy-five or more students at the spearhead meetings has been recorded. A number have been attending regularly, and before this appears in print about eighteen students in Bombay will have been baptized.
Thus it is clear that such rallies can be very fruitful. We want, in time, to hold one in each of the various centers where we have a representative number of students.
"There's a New Day Dawning" is the theme song of the Southern Asia Division. It is no idle dream. As we view what the Voice of Prophecy and other agencies are accomplishing in new India, we cannot but exclaim, "What hath God wrought !" We trust it will not sound boastful, but we believe we have made a contact with the intelligentsia of this country, which is not enjoyed by any other Christian body. Far beyond the borders of our organized work men and women are accepting the message. Only eternity will disclose the extent of good accomplished by the humble agencies of His appointing.
Scattered Again for Appointments
Again, as this report is made, your headquarters secretaries are widely scattered. M. K. Eckenroth is in the midst of his metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, campaign, and will be until March. He will report more fully on this later. Suffice it to say that this is a combination of field training school and evangelistic effort—as are all campaigns by association secretaries--with a corps of younger workers assisting. The field school feature carries with it, of course, credit in practical theology at our Theological Seminary.
Representatives from the various conferences of the Southern Union, together with certain students from the Seminary, and others, form the team. Ben Glanzer, of the Voice of Prophecy, is making a wonderful contribution with his ministry of music. The meetings are in the Civic Auditorium. And R. A. Anderson and Miss Louise Kleuser each spent a week of instruction in the field school phase, just prior to the opening of the effort, beginning on September 18.
G. E. Vandeman, but recently returned from evangelistic institutes in the Kansas and Southern California conferences, is again on the road, this time for two months. He and Miss Louise Kleuser have an intensive and extensive series of appointments with our Western colleges for evangelistic workshops and one Week of Prayer, and workers' meetings in various conferences along the way. The Eastern and Midwestern colleges will be similarly visited in the spring, with full Seminary teaching work between in the winter term for Elder Vandeman. These activities will likewise be reported separately by these secretaries.
R. A. Anderson is again teaching his special courses in the Seminary this autumn, and has finished his fine new Ministerial Reading Course book manuscript, The Shepherd Evangelist, which is now being published for distribution around the close of the year. Some of his appointments will be reported by him later. Both he and I are scheduled, as members of a team of three, to conduct a two-month Field Extension School of the Seminary for the South American Division during December and January. This will be held at Montevideo, Uruguay, for several score of national workers. An appropriate sketch will later be given of this.
Meantime, short special appointments are frequently met by all of us. There are two rather unique and somewhat similar appointments that I have just met, which will interest our MINISTRY readers. Back in September I spoke before a group of some forty Episcopalian theological and church worker students at Saint John's Episcopal church of Washington, D.C., on "Why I Am a Seventh-day Adventist." This appointment was wholly spontaneous, in response to a telephone call requesting the Seminary to delegate a representative to come and address them. This was under the auspices of the Canterbury Club of the church. Forty-five minutes of presentation was followed by forty-five minutes of questions that were not only keen but revealing. They disclosed chiefly a heart hunger for spiritual realities, and a groping after the real meaning and provisions of Christianity as we understand them. The group was most cordial and courteous and very appreciative, expressing the wish that I could return for another presentation. It was an unusual occasion.
The second appointment was before the Unitarian Church Forum at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on October 9. About one hundred were present in what was really the adult Bible class of this church, while the youth and children were in their respective Sunday school divisions from ten to eleven o'clock. Again the topic was. "Why I Am a Seventh-day Adventist," and it too was by invitation of this church, the invitation being extended to our Brother Tell Nussbaum, of Lancaster, to arrange.
Thirty minutes for presentation and twenty-five minutes for rapid-fire questioning was the schedule. Close attention and more questions than could possibly be answered in the time, indicated a desire to know why we are what we are. And the numerous personal questions and warm handclasps at the close revealed a new wish to understand the teachings of Adventism, which fact is most enheartening from such a group.
There is a new and growing respect for Adventism, and we should respond to every such opportunity. Nothing needs to be softened or held back, when we come as Seventh-day Adventists, specifically to tell exactly why we are here and what we believe, and what we are doing in the world. These appointments indicate the new attitude developing, of interest and inquiry about our faith. We should press into every such opening. This is indeed our day.
While in Lancaster and near-by York, I also returned the calls of two Lutheran ministers who had come to my office a month prior to discuss prophecy. These ministers have been impressed by our teachings and work, our tithing practice, and the like. At that time they spent an hour and a half discussing the prophecies, and seemed deeply impressed. Now I could drop into their own homes, meet their companions, and see the churches in which they minister. Both desire some of our distinctive literature. Again, I say, there is a new respect for Adventism and an unprecedented inquiry into our beliefs and work. This entails upon us a most solemn responsibility.
L. E. F.