Main session speakers have been announced for the 17th World Convention, slated for July 30—August 3, 2008, at Nashville, Tennessee.
The global gathering of the three streams of the Restoration Movement—Christian churches, churches of Christ, and Disciples of Christ—first met in 1930, and has gathered every four years since 1980.
Main session speakers for the event will be Cynthia Hale, Bob Russell, Mike Cope, and C. Robert Wetzel (the 2008 convention president).
The speakers will explore the convention theme, “Together in Christ.”
Cynthia Hale, Wednesday evening’s speaker, is founding pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Decatur, Georgia, a dynamic congregation that began with four people and in 14 years has grown to more than 4,500. Ebony magazine has recognized Hale as one of the greatest black women preachers in America.
At age 22, Bob Russell became minister of Louisville, Kentucky’s Southeast Christian Church, then averaging 120. When Russell retired from Southeast’s pulpit in 2006, 18,000 people were attending the four weekend services, making it the largest congregation in the Stone-Campbell Movement. He will speak at the Thursday night service.
On Friday night author, preacher, and lecturer Mike Cope of Abilene, Texas, will bring the address. Since 1991 Cope has served as the preaching minister at the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene. In addition, Mike has edited 21st Century Christian magazine and is co-editor of Wineskins magazine.
World Convention President C. Robert Wetzel will preside at the closing service Sunday afternoon, which will feature a special celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Wetzel is president of Emmanuel School of Religion, Johnson City, Tennessee. Previously he served as principal of Springdale College, Birmingham, England, and as professor and academic dean at Milligan College (Tennessee).
Sunday’s Communion service will kick off a yearlong celebration in honor of the 200th anniversary of Thomas Campbell writing the Declaration and Address, considered the pivotal founding document of the movement.
Complimenting the main session speakers will be workshops, lectures, and worship opportunities. Daily Bible studies will be led by Ajai Lall of India, B.J. Mpofu of Zimbabwe, and Rhonda Lowry of the United States. There also will be youth and children’s programs. Registration forms and additional information are available at www.worldconvention.org.
The ministry of World Convention builds fellowship, understanding, common purpose, and effectiveness within the family known as Christian, churches of Christ, and Disciples of Christ. Jeff Weston is executive director.
The World Convention’s Web site is www.worldconvention.org.