Cancellation of Celebrate Messiah 2000
'Except a grain of wheat falls into the ground and die..'
These were the words I shared with you in my last communication to you December 8 via AD2-Announce. The topic was "An assessment of the AD2000 Movement." I was describing the future of the Movement.
Little did we realize on December 8th how graphically these words would become a reality for the Movement, just ten days later in the very city of Jerusalem when they were spoken by our Lord almost 2000 years ago, as He referred to the laying down of His life.
At the very first board meeting of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement, it was agreed that the Movement would have completed its work, and should finish at the end of the year 2000. Ever since then, the strategy, the vision, the practical outworkings of our activity has been to that goal. No one at that meeting envisioned the way the Movement would actually finish.
When the Board sensed it back in 1995, to accept an invitation to hold its final Conference in Jerusalem at the end of December 2000, everything seemed to be fitting into place. What better place to Celebrate Messiah 2000 than in the place where our Savior lived on earth!?
The plans were made, the hotels reserved, the Convention Center and Speakers were arranged. Doris and I moved to Jerusalem last September to make the final details. Everything seemed to be coming together and in place.... But two days ago (Monday, 18 December), after several days of review and consultation with many from around the world, the decision was made to cancel the Conference! The Scripture that has come to mind these last 48 hours, has been the one at the top of this letter, 'Unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die ... it cannot produce fruit.' (John 12.24). I feel as if I have died a thousand deaths!!
Let me share the details with you. 1,300 delegates from over 100 nations were booked to attend the Conference. Israel has a strict entry system to its country, and we knew we needed entry visas to Israel, for over half the delegates. Before those entry visas could be obtained, the visa workers in Israel went on strike. For the past four weeks, every avenue, every door, every possible contact has been explored to try to find a way to persuade government officials to approve entry into Israel for delegates who needed a visa.
I can't begin to describe the number of individuals, organizations, and companies, who have made representation on behalf of AD2000 delegates to the government bodies concerned. We had numerous contacts with the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Interior, the Mayor of Jerusalem, the President of Israel and anyone of influence here in Israel. Last Sunday (December 17th), the matter was discussed at the Knesset Cabinet meeting, with the Prime Minister present. On Monday, before the decision to cancel was taken, I had a one to one with the Chairman of the Strikers Committee, to try one last effort of persuasion! Regrettably, despite numerous promises of help, all human effort failed to produce the promised visas.
We have been thrown back on the Lord, like we have never been before! We have been searching for what He is saying through it all. The 'AD2000 Movement & Beyond' is a global movement. It represents so many from the Christian body here on earth. As we considered our options, we firmly believed that such a movement could not continue with its final Conference, when half of its body, was forcibly not able to be present.
We never envisioned that would be it. And yet, in the midst of it all, we have a peace - that peace that passes all understanding - that tells us that He is in control. It would not have been right for us to have held a Conference just for those nations only from where delegates did not require a visa to enter Israel. The AD2000 & Beyond Movement has had so much input and inspiration from the nations of Africa, Asia, Latin America and many more. Yet they were the very nations now being stopped from being present at the Conference. We did not dare to continue!
In the months that lie ahead, opportunity will be given to examine what God has been saying through it all. For the immediate, we ask all our supporters to pray.
Pray for those delegates who had made their plans, had their bags packed, and even started on their journey to Israel, before the news of the Conference cancellation reached them.
Pray for the practicalities of restoring fees and costs to those who have paid so much to come to Israel. We aim that no one suffers financially because of the decision taken.
Pray that those who have put so much into preparing for Celebrate Messiah 2000 will experience and extra measure of His love and grace at this time.
The Internet News Headlines the other week said 'Christmas is cancelled in Bethlehem'. The Celebrate Messiah 2000 Conference in Jerusalem may be cancelled, but we know that nothing can cancel the good news this Christmas time, that we have a Savior, whose name is Jesus, and that He is the Savior of the world. Christmas cannot, and never will be cancelled. Thanks be unto God, and praises be to Him! Amen!
In His limitless love,
AD2000 & Beyond
View the initial cancellation notice.
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