Illinois Baptist 01 04 2016 E Edition Page 3 3 January 04, 2016 NEWS THE TICKER Carbondale A pastor in Southern Illinois is call- ing Christians across the state to meet together this month to pray and fast for spiritual awakening among the more than 850,000 college students in Illinois. Phil Nelson, pastor of Lakeland Baptist Church in Carbondale, sent a letter to Illinois Baptist church- es late last year, urging churches toward increased prayer for and involvement on college campuses. In 1985 when I came as a campus pastor to South- ern Illinois University, we had over 1,000 students that claimed to be associated with a Baptist church in Illinois, but just four years ago our list from the uni- versity of students who claimed an association with a Baptist church was less than 50, Nelson wrote. In a state where over 850,000 are enrolled in col- lege work we have very few viable ministries to our American students. This cannot be our position any longer for the sake of the Gospel in the lives of our children and young adults. Nelson said the idea for the prayer meetings be- gan to take shape at the 2015 IBSA Annual Meet- ing, where he connected with potential host pas- tors. Four churches so far have committed to host a prayer meeting on January 22, and there is still time for more to sign on, Nelson said. The four sites cur- rently are: Evanston Baptist Church, Evanston College Avenue Baptist Church, Normal First Baptist Church, Bethalto Stonefort Missionary Baptist Church, Stonefort Each meeting will begin at 9 p.m. and end at 6:00 the next morning. Each hour of prayer is divided into several segments and will include times of group prayer, worship and fellowship. Pray-ers are invited to come and go, Nelson said. The format is based on a prayer gathering he at- tended in 1976, shortly after he became a Christian as a college student at Southern Illinois University. That meeting changed the campus make-up at Car- bondale, Nelson told the Illinois Baptist . He shared more about the experience in his letter to churches: I participated in an all-night prayer meeting where many evangelical campus ministries came to- gether to pray and fast throughout the night and ask God to bring an awakening on our campus, Nelson wrote. That spring we saw many students in every min- istry come to trust Christ and many of those who trusted Christ are now still spread across this globe in active evangelical ministries to this day. For more information about the January 22 prayer meetings, contact Nelson at pastorphill@lakeland or (618) 529-4906. on campus Praying for revival Students focus of Jan. 22 meeting Follow the latest Illinois Baptist news capitol watch Protecting religious liberty Write your legislators, Illinois pastor asks Harrisburg A pastor in Southern Illinois is urging Illinois Baptists to write to state lawmakers on the issues of same-sex mar- riage and religious liberty. Stephen Nyberg, a member of the IBSA Resolutions Committee, led the committee to present the Reso- lution on the Call to Public Legal Protection for Pastors and Churches in Light of the Supreme Courts Ruling on Same Sex Marriage at the 2015 IBSA Annual Meeting. The resolution, which mes- sengers approved, asks Illinois Baptists to contact their state rep- resentatives and senators to encourage the enactment of such legislation in Illinois as to guarantee the United States Constitu- tional right to the freedom of religion with respect to the recognizing or performing of same sex marriages. The legislation in question is based on the Pastor Protection Act passed by Texas lawmakers in June, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. The act says religious organizations and people do not have to perform marriage ceremonies that violate their beliefs. Nyberg, pastor of Pankeyville Baptist Church in Harrisburg, would like to see similar legislation passed in Illinois. Following the IBSA Annual Meeting, he provided a template for the letter he's ask- ing Illinois Baptists to write: Dear Representative or Senator, I am a registered voter in your district. I am writing to ask you to sponsor legislation to protect our churches and our pastors from legal action for not par- ticipating in "same sex marriag- es." The constitution guarantees the right of freedom of religion, but everywhere it seems that right is being taken away from us. We need your help. Please reply as to what action you are taking or will take in this urgent matter. Pastor Nyberg noted it is important that the letters are handwritten because they carry more weight with elected officials, and that writers ask for a reply detailing what action the legislator will take in re- sponse to the letter. Nyberg may be reached at nyberg@ To read the entire resolu- tion adopted at the IBSA Annual Meeting, fo to APPROVED Messengers convened in Marion for the 2015 IBSA Annual Meeting, where they voted to accept five resolutions, including one on religious liberty.

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