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Simulcast carries Beth Moore to African American church

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (BP)–Beth Moore made it to North Little Rock, Ark. How she made it there proved to be a creative answer to fervent prayer.

The members of the women’s ministry at Pilgrim Progress Missionary Baptist Church in North Little Rock had been praying that the internationally known speaker and best-selling LifeWay Christian Resources author would come to North Little Rock. They specifically wanted Moore to speak at Pilgrim Progress, an African American church in the heart of the city. Their prayers were answered when Moore — via simulcast — met with 130 women in the church’s sanctuary Saturday, April 26.

Speaking from Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, Moore’s message was broadcast live via satellite to Pilgrim Progress, as well as to 37 other locations nationwide.

“God opened the door for us to do the simulcast and answered our prayer,” said Janis Keener, a member of Pilgrim Progress and an active participant in Beth Moore’s Bible studies since 1998. “Even though she couldn’t be here live, she is here!”

Women’s ministry leader Wanda Parker said she had received e-mail several months before from Amy Wiman, a special events coordinator for LifeWay. Wiman asked Parker if Pilgrim Progress would be willing to be a host church for the “Beloved Disciple” simulcast. “We felt like it was something God wanted us to do,” Parker said. “We thought it was such a blessing to have this broadcast at Pilgrim Progress. It was the next best thing to having her here with us.”

Moore’s message for the “Beloved Disciple” simulcast was fellowship: koininia, or fellowship among believers, and fellowship with God. “We come from many different walks of life, many different backgrounds,” Moore said during the simulcast. “But the Holy Spirit within us allows us to fellowship with one another.”

Diane Kayter, a member of First United Methodist Church in Beebe, Ark., said she was very aware throughout the evening that attendees at Pilgrim Progress weren’t the only ones sharing in the study. “I had a feeling of fellowship with all of these different places and people that we couldn’t see,” Kayter said. “It was a glorious feeling.”

The event marked the second time that many in the Pilgrim Progress women’s ministry have seen Moore live. Twenty of the women attended a Living Proof conference in Memphis, Tenn., three years ago. Keener said at the time Moore seemed disappointed there were only about 200 African Americans in attendance, among a crowd of about 18,000.

Teresa Siegel, a member of Crosswalk Family of God Church in Little Rock, attended the same conference in Memphis. “She [Moore] challenged the ladies there to cross racial lines,” Siegel recounted, noting that the simulcast at Pilgrim Progress is an example of crossing those racial barriers.

“I’m so excited that the ladies here were able to be a part of this event,” Siegel said. “I’m excited to be able to worship here with them.”

Tamela Morgan, a member of Pilgrim Progress who has been involved in Beth Moore Bible studies for five years, said the experience has “taught me that it is my responsibility to reach out, not just to my church, but to our city. Her message is powerful enough to reach the whole city.”

Gerald Parker Sr., Pilgrim Progress’ pastor for almost 32 years, said, “I am pleased to see a wonderful mixture of races. We are not looking at skin color, but at the Word of God.”

Women from 38 churches and five denominations attended the simulcast at Pilgrim Progress.

“I was impressed that there are so many people who can come together from so many different backgrounds and denominations and truly fellowship in the Lord,” said Kathy Sexton, a member of First United Methodist Church in Beebe, Ark.

The congregation also included worshipers of all ages. Mae McDaniel, a lady in her 70s, attended the simulcast with her daughter-in-law. McDaniel said she was being introduced to Beth Moore’s ministry for the first time. The youngest attendee was 6-year-old Maya Reed, who attended with her mother, Sheila. She said that she had attended many sessions of Beloved Disciple with her mom. “I like listening to [Moore],” Maya said. “She tells funny stories.”

Other women attending the simulcast shared Maya’s sentiment about Moore. “She has so much passion,” said Kristina Grisham, a member of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Cabot, Ark. “She makes me want to read my Bible and study more.”

Diana Ballenger, a member of Pleasant Valley Church of Christ in Little Rock, said one of her favorite parts of the message on Saturday was Moore’s description of man and God sharing a fellowship sacrifice and eating together. “I was sitting next to a lady that I had never met before,” Ballenger said. “When she got up to leave, she said, ‘I’ll meet you at the table.'” Ballenger said that she was very moved by that comment and by the fellowship she had experienced during the simulcast.

Andee Cone, a friend of Ballenger’s from Little Rock, agreed. “As we were sitting here, black and white together, I just thought, ‘God has brought us here to fellowship!'”
For more information on Beth Moore, go to www.lifeway.com, click on the events tab and on Beth Moore. (BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: BREAKTIME, SAVORING THE SIMULCAST and ARKANSAS HOST CHURCH.

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  • Jennifer Byrd