The John 17:23 Network

In April of 2010, many people gathered at Allen Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church for “An Evening of Prayerful Repentance and Reconciliation.” Dr. LeRoy Haynes, Jr. and Dr. John M. Perkins led us in a time of worship and celebration and prayerful solidarity that God’s people might become one in the Greater Portland area. Ever since then, many Christians have been meeting in different locations to encourage and exhort and equip the multi-ethnic Christian community in the greater Portland area. There have been ups and downs along the way. However, I now feel that we are gaining traction with these gatherings.

We are now giving a title to our monthly gatherings involving various churches. We are calling our gatherings “The John 17:23 Network.” The aim of The John 17:23 Network is to encourage, exhort, and equip the multi-ethnic Body of Christ in the greater Portland area to fulfill Jesus’ prayer in our midst that we might all be one.

We held our first meeting for the 2011 year at Trinity Full Gospel Pentecostal Church on January 30th. Pastor William Turner, the Senior Pastor of Trinity and his church’s choir, Pastor David Stevens, Senior Pastor of Central Bible Church, Pastor Cliff Chappell, Senior Pastor of All Nations Church of God in Christ, and a large gathering of people from various churches came together to pray and worship and encourage one another to seek to live into Jesus’ prayer in John 17. Many shared after the celebration how encouraged they were by the event. Our prayer is that such gatherings will energize us to run the marathon race of breaking down divisions and entering into the fullness of Jesus’ undying and reconciling love for the church.

Please stay tuned for updates regarding the upcoming meetings. Please see the attached document with details of the January 30th meeting as well as information regarding the meetings in February and March. Thank you. God bless you!

Paul Louis Metzger

7 Responses to “The John 17:23 Network”

  1. Cliff Chappell Says:

    The service was a wonderful experience. The Praisers lead us into a very spirited time of worship, the dancers very passionately touched our hearts and then the unity prayer capped it off. You could certainly sense the Love of Jesus Christ and the spirit of unity among everyone in the room. I was truly Blessed and look forward to the next gathering.

  2. Bob Wall Says:

    It is my intent to stand with you , Paul and those who are building this network for racial reconciliation and restoration. Cultural change seems so slow here in the Northwest. However, we must not give up. The John 17:23 Network has a foundation that bridges the walls built by intentinal discrimination begun as early as the westward trail was blazed into the Oregon Territory. Our Portland culture including the Christian Church’s culture must now take some steps forward in faith. Where there is ignorance to the past and current residue of racial discrimination we must educate our selves. Where there is denial as to our own responsibility, we must repent. Where there is silence, we must stand up and speak up! That is what I am seeing as the mission Jesus has for us who are willing to join in unity with the theme of John 17:23. Thank you Paul for your leadership and willingness to engage our culture for everyones’ good.

    Bob Wall

  3. David Stevens Says:

    A fragmented church cannot reach a fragmented world. That thought has reverberated over and over in my mind and heart in recent months. No wonder Jesus’ prayer for the unity of his followers makes so much sense.

    Our gathering the other evening instills a renewed sense of hope. It was a tangible sign that maybe, just maybe, we can recapture as God’s people our true identity of unity in diversity and tear down by God’s grace the dividing walls that separate us. A small step in the right direction! God, grant us perseverance for the long haul!

  4. Tory Cambpell Says:

    I enjoyed being amongst Christ followers who are willing to push beyond what is relationally commonplace and comfortable into the messy and refreshing engagement of discovery amongst different ethnic and cultural expressions of faith in Jesus Christ. Thanks for creating the space for such interactions to occur. It is my hope that we will move ever closer to the reality of being be one as God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one. Sunday night was a good step towards that end.

  5. William Turner Says:

    What a tremendous privilege and awesome blessing it was to host the gathering at our church. The spirit of God as well as the spirit of unity were present in the service!
    In order to bring racial healing and reconciliation to the body of Christ, we must be willing to “launch out into the deep”; past our fears, our preconceived notions, and the obstacles that will keep us separated. I pray that Sunday’s service was the beginning of a greater movement here in the Portland area.

  6. Gregg Bronsema Says:

    During the hour drive from Mount Angel Seminary to Portland, I was wondering what exactly the evening was all about. Shortly upon arrival, there was an incredible warm welcome extended! I could see that people really wanted to be at the John 17:23 Network meeting at Trinity Full Gospel Pentecostal Church. One woman at the meeting said it best, “This is like a taste of heaven!” Thank you Pastor William Turner and your congregation for being wonderful hosts.

  7. Mariko Metzger Says:

    One of the naive assumptions I had before coming to the States to study was that, as being the country made up of immigrants and their descendants, the multi-national and multi-cultural gathering we had at Trinity Full Gospel Church was the norm. How wrong I was. The island mentality that I wanted to leave behind was not a sole property of Japanese people; it is alive and well here in this big continent, as different people groups live in pockets. As the church (I’m talking in general terms) being a voluntary association, the rule for its existence is “preference” – something hard to prove but it is pervasive. Because of its INTENTIONAL blindness and cluelessness, the race problem is very deep and goes to the core of our sinful nature.

    Yet, we have hope in the Son of Man who was lifted up so that all men, women, and children may be drawn to Him. We have to stand on the same level ground so that only He might be the one lifted up. The Savior who was Jewish, the dark-skinned, Aramaic-speaking, not-so-casual in demeanor (very un-American) was, is, and will be the only hope not only for the world, but for the church. We need to kiss goodbye to the generic Jesus, for such Jesus never existed. Whenever Jesus is portrayed as such, a majority group of a given society steps in to enflesh Him both in our minds and practice. This has implications for missions as well.

    The United States is a unique ground where all nations gather together to share space and time. I hope that more and more people including myself will try to live out Jesus’ invitation to unity in love.

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