I was an outsider to Park Street Church until I met the lovely Betty Duncan at a youth meeting of which her brother [Wally] was the director. She played for me to sing and she did such a wonderful job I gave her a lifetime contract. Best arrangement I ever made!
Shortly after meeting her we went to the Missions Conference at Park Street. I was pleased and shocked at the total involvement of the church in this endeavor.
I can remember writing to my mother, “This is the first time I have experienced football game enthusiasm for the things of the Lord!” On the final day when people indicated how much God was leading them to contribute to the missions outreach of the church in the coming year, the usually staid Dr. Ockenga became a cheerleader and was full of fun. As the calculating machines clicked down in front, providing him with the latest totals, he would then share the totals with the congregation to encourage them.
Occasionally he would ask one of the missionaries that had been featured during the ten-day conference to come up and share some aspect of the need on their field.
Toward the end of the service he would tell people that it was time for them to turn in their “repentance pledge,” whereby they would indicate that they repented that they had not given all that the Lord wanted them to give! Many did just that.
I am unaware of recent yearly amounts, but it is often over $1,000,000!
Park Street gave to our support the 35 years we were in France. Often they would inquire as to our support level, or would simply increase some, knowing the situation. They were the most faithful in their support of God’s work through us. We are grateful to God and to Park Street.
written by Harley Smith (Betty’s husband) for Colin Duncan (Bob’s son), March 18, 2011
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