February is the month of Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, the least number of days, and no full moon this year. It is also the second month of our 200th Anniversary and so we have lined up significant speakers.
On February 4th Tony Campolo will be our preacher. Dr. Anthony Campolo is a speaker, author, sociologist, social activist and passionate follower of Jesus. Over the years I have read a number of his books including 20 Hot Potatoes Christians are Afraid to Touch, Following Jesus Without Embarrassing God, Letters to a Young Evangelical, Is God a Republican or Democrat, Who Switched the Price Tags? Putting first things first, and most recently, Why I Left Why I Stayed. That final book is a collection of letters between father and son, Bart. It makes clear a painful schism between father, who is a committed Christian, and son who has become an atheist humanist. It looks at what separated them, but more importantly what holds them together. I find it an important book in a time when 59% of our young adults who grew up in church are walking away from their faith or the institutional church. Only last week a father shared with me his concern that his grown son is becoming a Buddhist. My January 28th Anniversary sermon dealt with the issue and how the church can respond.
Over the years Tony has taken a number of highly controversial positions. We don’t always agree. But his zeal for the care of children of the poor both in the United States and abroad has kept me following his work.
On February 11th another anniversary speaker will visit our church, Rev. Eric Hoeheisel. Eric served at the Oaklyn Baptist Church for years and now is the Greater Delaware Valley Associate Executive Minister of ABCNJ. Eric is a pastoral presence, an artist, and I would like to hear his vision for the American Baptist Churches here in New Jersey.
Please join us at worship and events this month in a historic year.