Date: May 14, 2017
600 Christian Leaders From 130 Nations End Historic Conference with A Bold Plan of Action
By Bill Bray, Special Correspondent, ASSIST News Service
WASHINGTON, DC (ANS – May 14, 2017) – International Christian leaders from 130 countries ended their historic World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians yesterday (Saturday, May 13, 2017) with a communion service, and adopting a six-point action plan to respond to genocide in the Middle East, and anti-Christian violence worldwide.
The Washington Summit, produced at a cost of over $4 million, is the only the first such event and will be followed-up with similar summits in Europe and the Middle East according to Franklin Graham. Nearly 75 employees from Samaritans Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association worked for months to organize the summit and serve as stewards for the conference.
Russian Bishop Sergei Riakhovskii, speaking to the news media immediately after the historic resolution, said the closing document gives him and other Russian leaders added moral authority to re-approach the subject of persecution with President Putin and other leaders in the Russian Federation. Many left for the airport at the end of the summit promising similar action.
According to a statement released by the Summit media center, the six vows will include:
1) Promoting greater awareness of persecuted Christians worldwide and to help them in their time of need.
2) Praying unceasingly, urge other believers throughout the world to pray for those being persecuted, that the whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless.
3) Providing practical assistance, whenever possible, to the persecuted church.
4) Working with individuals, organizations and government agencies, encouraging them to act as advocates on behalf of the persecuted because of their faith in Christ Jesus.
5) Following the biblical mandate to comfort and edify one another so that we exemplify Christ’s love and transforming power, even during hardship.
6) Strengthening the worldwide witness of the church around the world through biblical proclamation-evangelism, and to do so boldly, unapologetically and without compromise.
Bishop Sergei, like many other leaders, personally met with American government officials including US Vice President Mike Pence, Franklin Graham and others during the conference and listened to speeches and promises from American lawmakers and the State Department.
“This conference was held in the right place and time to begin a global movement,” he said. “I’m excited. This was a way for us to meet with others from around the world to produce a proclamation that I can share and advocate back home.
“Together, we can help protect religious freedom. Now we are strengthened. To know that Vice President Pence is standing with us.”
He said that he and other Russian leaders will use the full resolution to formulate plans for Russia and in areas of the world where Russia has influence.
Photo captions: 1) His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon, offered welcoming remarks at the opening session of “Martyrs for Christ,” at the World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians 2) African Christian holds the cross despite persecution. 3) During his address, Vice President Mike Pence shared that the current administration would stand with persecuted Christians. 4) Rashin Soodmand’s father was hanged for his faith when she was just a child. Today, the Iranian native stands strong, especially for her homeland, in the face of ongoing persecution. 5) Metropolitan Tikhon with [from left] Fr. John Jillions, Bishop Daniel and Fr. Eric Tosi. 6) Rev. Sami Dagher of Lebanon delivered an impassioned message as he talked about “The Call of the Christian.” 7) Bill Bray interviewing Bishop Sergei of Moscow during the World Summit Conference in Defense of Persecuted Christians.
Note: ANS would like to thank the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) for the use of many of the above photos from the summit.