Date: April 20, 2017
Franklin Graham and Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to Hold First World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians, May 10 – 13
By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
CHARLOTTE, N.C., (ANS -- April 20, 2017) -- With thousands of Christians killed every year, and millions facing other forms of brutal persecution, this is a dangerous time for Christians -- simply because of their faith.
Many living comfortably in the United States may be unaware of the fact that Christians are now the most persecuted religious group in the world, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).
BGEA cites Open Doors which identified 2016 as the worst year for the persecution of Christians since it began tracking the issue 25 years ago, and reports about 215 million Christians experience "high, very high or extreme persecution" in the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.
Now, to help raise global awareness about the plight of persecuted Christians and show solidarity with those who suffer because of their faith, Franklin Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will host the first-ever World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians. The conference will be held May 10 – 13 in Washington, and will bring together more than 600 participants from 130 countries.
"It seems that every week we learn of yet another example from somewhere around the globe that shows how critically we need to have this World Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians," said Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse. "We want this event to shed a global spotlight on this crisis and help reverse this alarming trend."
Graham says the summit will provide a platform for firsthand stories of persecution to be heard, collected and documented. The summit's goals also include connecting victims, advocates, leaders and influencers to create partnerships that can help bring about change—while encouraging and praying for those who have faced beatings, torture, imprisonment, rape and even death because of their Christian faith.
"We need to stand with Christians around the world, and educate the American public and Washington about what is happening and how we can work with the United Nations and other government bodies to ensure that religious freedoms are protected," said Graham.
Media are invited to cover this event at The Mayflower Hotel (1127 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036).
Interview opportunities include victims who can share their stories of persecution, Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, additional experts in the fields of relief and advocacy who can share more about the scope of the crisis and what can be done to help end it. Media space is reserved for reporters and photographers to cover the opening and closing sessions of the summit. Other sessions will be available through a pool feed.
A media check-in and work area will be located on the mezzanine at The Mayflower Hotel.
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 3343 Peachtree Rd NE Suite 1000, Atlanta, GA 30326, United States of America.
Photo Captions: 1) Displaced Iraqi Christians who fled from Islamic State militants in Mosul, pray at a school acting as a refugee camp in Erbil, Iraq, September 6, 2014. (Photo: Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah). 2) World Summit logo (BGEA). 3) Michael Ireland
About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ANS since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. Please consider helping Michael cover his expenses in bringing news of the Persecuted Church, by logging-on to: https://actintl.givingfuel.